Whale rider project

Maori Language

In the early 19 century, Maori language was spoken in Aotearoa,New Zealand, but by the mid 20th century it started dying out. There was no written language recorded, but there was sign language and to write something the letters were in English, but they weren't English words. In the early 21st century, more than 130,000 people of Māori ethnicity could speak and understand Maori language. Though it was the Maori people's language, few people can speak it because it wasn't popular. Since English travelers came to New Zealand, the Maori people started to adopt the English language.

The picture to the right is the Maori sign language alphabet

Maori culture and traditions

Maori Culture had alot of dancing, singing, carving, weaving, and natural resources. The Maori people have a connection to the environment, because of their gods such as Tane Mahuta (God of the Forest) and Tangaroa (God of the Sea), and four others who are : wind, wild food, planted food, and mankind, were born to Rangi (the Sky Father) and Papa (the Earth Mother). To remember them they do dances and sing, and a priest had to know their sacred chants to pass on to the future generation. Carvings a big form of art in Maori culture. The carvings showed emotions in humans and respect to important people. The whakapapa (family tree) is put in the carvings on every marae. The Marae, (traditional meeting house) is a place you can still visit today, is still the main focus for ceremony and community identity.

Maori Today

Today, as of 2006, there about 565,329 people who are of Maori descent living in New Zealand. Not many Maori people live in their traditional tribal places any more, but in urban areas (84%) and 16% rural areas. In 2001, schools were built to teach the Maori language and have three institutes. Also now the Maori people have over 20 radio stations, a tv station, and in 2004 political representatives. Even though the Maori people are educated, unemployment rates are high and housing is not very good. The diseases the Maori citizens get include: diabetes, heart disease and cancers.