The first Maori settlers in New Zealand arrived aboard a number of great canoes from the island called Hawaiki, from French Polynesia about 1000 years ago.
Aroha: Aroha is often translated as 'Love' but because English is one of the youngest languages and has developed throughout an unusual period in history that focuses almost entirely on what is perceptible by the five senses (the senses of intellect and ego) the scope of the word Aroha requires an exploration, not a translation. The full meaning of the word does not exist in an equivalent English word. The root word "Aro" has many meanings, but the Williams Maori dictionary (1st edition 1844, 6th edition 1957) gives one as "Mind, seat of feelings" and "Ha" is defined as "breath", and in Maori, this refers to the breath of life. Aroha is the creative force that comes from the spirit. Aroha as an operational principle presumes the universe to be abundant, with more opportunities than there are people. In social interaction, it seeks the best in people and draws it out, yet is firm in not accepting aggression, greed, recycled ignorance, or other behaviours that are damaging. Aroha in action is generous. Aroha in group meetings seeks unity and balance. Aroha in practice is intelligent, a unified intelligence of the heart, soul and mind. Aroha is universal and known by all peoples of all cultures. However, with the distractions of life, people can lose connection with aroha.
Business and Iwi (tribal) wealth
Iwi trusts are developing into big business. They are growing their investment assets at a rate 50 percent faster than community trusts.
Example: NGAI Tahu’s economic growth reflects the general expansion of Maori enterprises and the Maori asset base which was estimated to reach more than $36billion by 2010. Iwi investment can be seen as adding solidity to an economy which is otherwise subject to unpredictable international flows of capital.
In 2001 Māori comprised approximately 15% (526,281 people) of New Zealand’s population. This figure is forecast to reach 16.6% (750,000) by 2021.
Today the Māori people are more diverse and dispersed than at any other time in their history. Some continued to live in their traditional tribal areas. Most, however, lived elsewhere, usually in urban centres. In 2001, 64% of Māori were living in the main urban areas and only 16% in rural areas. Many also lived in other countries, with over 70,000 in Australia and up to 10,000 in Britain.
The Māori language is an official language of New Zealand, and in recent years has undergone a revival. However, it is still threatened and, according to the 2001 census results, was spoken by only one in four Māori. Approximately 30,000 non-Māori could speak the language.
Māori culture is going through enormous change, with the establishment of new institutions and organisations. These include:
In the early 2000s, a number of Māori individuals were regarded as major national figures or had international reputations in their chosen fields. Among them were the opera singer Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, film director Lee Tamahori, child actor Keisha Castle-Hughes, golfer Michael Campbell, artist Ralph Hotere, and writers Patricia Grace and Witi Ihimaera.
Traditions and culture: