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New Zealand's indigenous group
Friday, December 10, 2010 6:16 AM

After much research, the only indigenous group in New Zealand is the Maori or tangata whenua (refers to the indigenous group, people of the land), throughout the years they have played a significant role in shaping New Zealand as a unique country due to their culture and traditions.

The first Maori people are believed to first migrate to New Zealand by a voyaging canoe between 9th century and 13th century AD from their Polynesian homeland of Hawaiki. Hawaiki does not exist on the map and cannot be found anywhere, but it is a mythical island that exists in the Maori beliefs and it is believed to be located in the South Pacific Ocean. Before the European arrived in the 18th century, the Maori settled on the land of New Zealand and was thriving. They named several places after their Iwi(tribes), for example Wellington –the capital of New Zealand- was initially named Te Upoko O Te Ika A Maui, which means’ the head of Maui’s fish’ in Maori language, before it was change to English. The Maori define themselves by their tribes (Iwi), sub-tribes (hapu), mountain (maunga) and river (awa).

Today, the Maori people make up about 14% of the population of New Zealand; they are located all over New Zealand. They are actively keeping their culture and traditions alive, also preserving their unique identity with the assistance of traditional art from such as carvings, practices or dance. To revive and make sure the Maori language is not lost, in the recent years the language has been added into school curriculums for primary and secondary school.
Therefore, the Maori tribe has made a significant impact on New Zealand over the years due to their uniqueness. In the recent years, the world has recognized the importance of culture due to the demand for cultural tourism. The Maori people were declining in terms of losing their traditions and language but now, it is being revived for tourists’ consumption when they visit.