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Māori

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Māori are the indigenous people of Aotearoa New Zealand, whose ancestors were the world's greatest navigators and reached the country in canoes ("waka") over 300 years before any Europeans sighted the place.

Māori people make up about one-sixth of the current population, but there is so much intermarriage that distinctions are hard to make. Whatever the real proportion is, they are under-represented in Parliament and the top echelons of business. But Māori Television is a world leader.

Their own political party (which they do not all support) managed a bit of a coup at the 2008 General Election, despite having only about 6% of the MPs: they held the balance of power and managed to get two of their members into Cabinet positions, including the key post of Minister of Maori Affairs, held by their co-leader Pita Sharples.



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