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The demographic and political imperatives for improving Crown-Maori relations in Aotearoa-New Zealand

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Publication Date: January 2002

Publisher(s): East-West Center

Author(s): Harry A. Kersey

Series: AsiaPacific issues ; no. 64

Topic: Culture and religion (Multiculturalism and cultural relations)
Population and demographics (Ethnic and racial groups)

Type: Report

Abstract:

Nearly a decade has passed since the United Nations declared International Year of the World's Indigenous People. Yet issues of social and economic marginalization, inequality, cultural survival, and change related to indigenous peoples continue to challenge the global community. In Aotearoa-New Zealand the Pakeha (Caucasian) settler population for many decades dominated the political landscape, leaving little voice for the nation's indigenous Maori people struggling for greater rights. Today, however, the growing Maori population makes New Zealand the only First World country in which the indigenous people's movement for self-determination is sufficiently large to promise the possibility of major societal transformations. Over the past quarter century, regardless of which political party or coalition held power, escalating Maori demographic trends and increased political activism have encouraged the Crown to address Maori concerns and grievances. Today, with one out of four children under the age of five a Maori, the government has little option but to negotiate with a growing indigenous community.