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An Introduction to the Maori
History, Culture and Society
This section of the site is intended to give enough background for the visitor to New Zealand to understand the Maori, their history, culture and society.

The Maori were the first settlers in New Zealand and first came from Polynesia about 1000 years ago. The occupied almost every area of New Zealand long before the Pakeha (European) missionaries, traders and settlers arrived and there were over 6000 Pa, fortified villages, by that time. They still have a very strong culture of their own with many traditions which flourish today. The numbers are now rising after a long period of decline and there are currently over 500,000 Maori, about 16% of the population. The Maori language, again after a period of decline, is in increasing use.

A number of pages have been, or are in the process of being written.


It is worth making the point that it is difficult to do justice to Maori Culture without being fluent in the language and having been immersed in the culture. There are words and concepts which have no direct translation and are difficult or, arguably, impossible to grasp. For example, in the early days, sovereignty was a concept without any counterpart in the Maori language or culture and the Maori concepts of Tapu and Noa are difficult for many Pakeha to understand even today. If I have inadvertently, or through ignorance, made errors or omissions in any of my sections covering Maori culture, legends and protocol please let me know - any corrections, comments and input will be very welcome.

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Layout revised: 18th July, 2020