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Māori, English

Christianity, Māori religion

other Polynesian peoples,
Austronesian peoples

The Māori (pronounced Māori: [ˈmaːɔ.ɾi], or commonly IPA: [ˈmaʊri] by English speakers) are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand (Aotearoa). They arrived in New Zealand from East Polynesia in several waves[6] at some time before 1300 CE.[7] Over several centuries in isolation, the Māori developed a distinct culture featuring a rich mythology, a unique language, distinctive crafts and performing arts, and a tribal society with a prominent warrior culture.

The arrival of Europeans to New Zealand starting from the 17th century brought significant change to the Māori way of life. Māori people gradually adopted many aspects of Western society and culture. Māori society was also destabilised from the late 18th century by epidemics of disease and the introduction of muskets and other weapons. After 1840 they lost an increasing amount of their land, and went into a cultural and numerical decline. However their population began to increase again from the late 19th century. A marked Māori cultural revival gathered pace in the 1960s and is continuing.

In 2009, there were an estimated 650,000 Māori in New Zealand, making up roughly 15% of the national population. They are the second-largest ethnic group in New Zealand, after European New Zealanders ("Pākehā"). The Māori language is spoken by about a quarter of all Maori, and 4% of the total population. Māori are active in all spheres of New Zealand culture and society, with distinct representation in areas such as media, politics and sport.

As with many indigenous peoples in the world, the Māori face significant economic and social obstacles, with lower life expectancies and incomes compared with other New Zealand ethnic groups, in addition to higher levels of crime and health problems. Socioeconomic initiatives have been implemented aimed at closing the gap between Māori and other New Zealanders. Political redress for historical grievances is also ongoing.


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