Maori { 37 images } Created 26 Apr 2012

The Maori are the indigenous people of New Zealand. They arrived in wakas (war canoes) at the end of the fourteenth century and lived in almost complete isolation with their own language and distinct culture for hundreds of years. When Europeans arrived in the 1800s, the Maori way of life was drastically changed. Initially, the relationship was a partnership. They traded goods and established laws for land use with the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, but eventually the power shifted to the Europeans. The Maori lost their land, were forbidden to speak their language and were consequently pushed into a population and cultural decline that lasted for over a century.

Recently, the Maori have been making a comeback. Today they make up 14% of the New Zealand population and are the fastest growing group. Maori was named the nation's official language and is being taught in public schools. They are standing out as artists and leaders and have their own political party and television channel. There are still many challenges to tackle after such a long decline, but the Maori are global leaders for indigenous groups on education, political power and language.
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