Māori renaissance

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The Māori renaissance[1][2] is the revival in fortunes of the Māori of New Zealand beginning in the latter half of the twentieth century. During this period, the perception of Māori went from being that of a "dying race"[3] to being politically, culturally and artistically ascendant.

The roots of the renaissance lie in development during the inter-war period and the Māori Battalion, whose performance in the World War II won them many battle honours and decorations, with more individual bravery decorations than any other New Zealand battalion.[4]

The renaissance happened across a number of spheres, including the revival of the Māori language with the founding of the first kōhanga reo in 1982 and the passing of the Māori Language Act in 1987; the land-focused Māori protest movement, with the Bastion Point occupation in 1977–1978;[5] the Springbok tour which led to international indigenous peoples connections;[6] and the landmark Te Maori art exhibition in which Māori exhibited Māori art internationally for the first time.[7][8] The culmination has arguably been the Treaty of Waitangi claims and settlements starting in 1992, which have addressed the erosion of the Māori economic base.

There is now a wide range of Māori-owned enterprises such as television and radio, businesses and tourist ventures. Additionally, there is significant political representation, and an increasing number of individuals are gaining international reputations for their achievements. Today, Māori people can be found in a wide array of pursuits and activities throughout the country and the world.

People and groups[edit]

Started in 1951 Māori Women's Welfare League is organisation that has had the most enduring impact on the Māori renaissance. As perhaps the first national Māori organisation founded on western principals and consistently winning grants and accolades for its work in housing, health, and education, the League demonstrated that western organisational principals weren't anathema to kaupapa Māori—Māori goals and approaches. Women who had gained experience in the League went on to found the Kōhanga Reo movement and Te Roopu Raranga Whatu o Aotearoa.

Political parties[edit]

Traditionally, Māori have largely voted for the New Zealand Labour Party in general elections. Several (often short-lived) political parties have sprung up with their main focus being on Māori rights and issues. The first of these to grab major public attention was Mana Motuhake, founded in 1979 by former Labour cabinet minister Matiu Rata. It contested four general elections from 1981 to 1990, but failed to gain a seat. It became part of the Alliance group of parties in 1991. Some members of the party who did not support joining the Alliance founded the Mana Māori Movement, which contested elections between 1994 and 2002 but again failed to win a seat.

Since the founding of New Zealand First, a populist party under the leadership of former National Party cabinet minister Winston Peters, in the early 1990s, Labour have faced a serious challenge for the Māori vote, both from New Zealand First and from Māori-specific parties. New Zealand First championed Māori issues, gaining a large proportion of the Māori vote and gained several seats, among them five Māori MPs known as "The Tight Five". A split in the party in 1998 led to the founding of the multicultural Mauri Pacific Party, headed by Tau Henare. This splinter failed to gain public support, and disbanded in 2001.

The year 2004 saw the founding of the Māori Party, to date New Zealand's most successful Māori-specific party. Founded by former Labour MP Tariana Turia, the party gained four seats in the following year's general election. In the 2008 election, its seats increased to five, and the party also won seats in 2011 and 2014. In 2008, the party entered a loose alliance with the National Party, firstly as part of the opposition, and in 2011 and 2014 as a minor partner in government. Disaffection with National led to a slump in support in the Māori Party in 2017, and it won no seats.

Disagreement over the Māori Party's role as a supporter of National also led to a split in the party in 2011, leading to the creation of the Mana Party by MP Hone Harawira. Harawira retained his seat as Mana's sole MP until 2014. In 2014 the party formed a brief alliance with Kim Dotcom's Internet Party, but this met with a mixed reception from Mana supporters, and the party won no seats. The parties went their separate ways after the election, with the Mana Party renamed as the Mana Movement. It failed to win a seat in the 2017 general election.




Māori in entertainment and the arts[edit]




  1. ^ "Māori urbanisation and renaissance". Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Accessed 2010-12-17.
  2. ^ Patrons of Maori Culture: Power, Theory and Ideology in the Maori Renaissance, Steven Webster, University of Otago Press, 1998., Review by Giselle Byrnes, Kōtare 1999, Volume Two, Number Two. Accessed 2010-12-17.
  3. ^ "4. Smoothing the Pillow of a Dying Race: A. A. Grace". nzetc.org. 2011. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
  4. ^ "Achievements – Maori and the Second World War". New Zealand History Online. Retrieved 6 December 2011.
  5. ^ "3. Māori renaissance - Ngā tuakiri hou – new Māori identities - Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand". teara.govt.nz. 2011. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
  6. ^ "Battle lines are drawn - 1981 Springbok tour | NZHistory.net.nz, New Zealand history online". nzhistory.net.nz. 2011. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
  7. ^ "Te Maori exhibition opens in New York". nzhistory.net.nz. 2011. Archived from the original on 30 December 2011. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
  8. ^ "Te Māori – 25th year anniversary « Te Papa's Blog". blog.tepapa.govt.nz. 2011. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
  9. ^ https://www.victoria.ac.nz/law/about/staff/carwyn-jones