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TODAYS MAORI

Today, only 9,2% of the New Zealand population are Maori. And 95% of them live in the Northern Island.

Though, the number of the Maori population is increasing, even their culture is being brought back. Today Maori songs, dances, traditional carving and the Maori language are being taught in New Zealand schools. The Maori language is, like English, an official language. But only a few Maori master the Maori language as a first language today. It has also been improvement in the Maori's legal and social status the past years. In 1975 they got back a lot of the rights they were formally promised in 1840. And in 1985 a number of Maori tribes, after pressure by Maori elders, received financial reparation for having unfairly lost their lands. In 1995 the New Zealand government offered to establish a 1 billion NZ dollar fund to make up for the loss of their lands. But it was rejected, and accused of being poorly. It provoked many young Maori, and lead to threats and trampling of the New Zealand flag. In 1996 the government took a big step and apologized to a Maori tribe for taking their land and for hanging their chief 131 years earlier.

The Maori are also known as a very talented and hardworking people, they are the best teachers, the best farmers, the best mechanics and the best sheepshearers. Many white from New Zealand (the Pakeha) claims to have more Maori blood then they actually have. But The Maori still have problems with racial discrimination, within the system and among the people. The Maori's situation have been improved, but there is still a big different in culture. And that can often cause conflicts.

MAORI ART TODAY A Maori gets his face tatooed with paint
The Maori were also into tattoos. Many Maori has kept the tradition of getting tattoos. Big facial tattoos are mostly being used before ceremonies. The art form is called Ta Moko, and has really been coming back since the 1980's. But they are doing it in a less painful way than they did before. They use mostly paint in ceremonies, or new fashion tattoo equipment for smaller tattoos, instead of knives and human bones. Read more about Maori tattoos here.

Many types of Maori art are being brought back, like sculpture, dance, songs etc by young Maori today. The Kaupapa (meaning): " It becomes a demand for identity. It is a personal choice, totally unrelated to ancient religious or traditional obligations. Of major value in the reconstitution of the Polynesian identity, the motives are modernized, freed of the strictures of tradition, and one sees intermingled Marquesan, Samoan and Maori styles."(Gotz, speaking of the story in Tahiti.) Also music from earlier generations of the Maori has begun to be popular with the young Maori and European descendants. The Maori's self-esteem has the past years flourished in step with their culture and status.

THEIR LIVING SITUATION TODAY
The Maori do not live together in big family groups, like they used to before the Europeans came. Today every family live by them selves, but they still have close contact with other families who they mean are decedents from the same ancestor generations before. A family like that often own land together, or have an own marae (farmyard). A marea consists of several buildings, a meeting hall, a dining hall and a big yard. There they have debates about issues in the community, "parties" like birthdays and weddings, funerals and so on. It is often beautifully decorated, both inside and outside with woodcarving. And it has a special meaning for a Maori. A marae assembling is called Hui. A marae is the basis for their social life. The Maori are known for their hospitality, and they often have gatherings in their marae, were they invite neighbours and friends. There are being built marae and Maori youth clubs in towns to help the Maori to integrate. The Maori want to be integrated, but without being eaten by the white society. They want to keep their traditions and culture.