noun \ˈma(-ə)r-ē\

: a member of the original people living in New Zealand

: the language of the Maori people

plural Maori or Maoris

Full Definition of MAORI

:  the Polynesian language of the Maori people
:  a member of a Polynesian people native to New Zealand

Origin of MAORI

Maori māori, literally, normal, ordinary
First Known Use: 1828

Rhymes with MAORI


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Any member of a Polynesian people of New Zealand. Maori traditional history describes their origins in terms of waves of migration from a mythical land between the 12th and 14th centuries, but archaeologists have dated habitations in New Zealand back to at least AD 800. Their first European contact was with Abel Janszoon Tasman (1642), who did battle with a group of Maori. Later Europeans were initially welcomed, but the arrival of muskets, disease, Western agricultural methods, and missionaries corroded Maori culture and social structure, and conflicts arose. The British assumed formal control of New Zealand in 1840; war over land broke out repeatedly over the next three decades. By 1872 all fighting had ended and great tracts of Maori land had been confiscated. Today about 9% of New Zealanders are classified as Maori; nearly all have some European ancestry. Though largely integrated into modern urban life, many Maori keep alive traditional cultural practices and struggle to retain control of their ancestral lands.


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