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Word Count: 338
Maori are the indigenous people of New Zealand Although they are described as one large group of people they are a combination of many different tribes and units Within these tribes there are variations of dialects habits and rituals Before contact with the Europeans the people did not call themselves Maori This was an adoption from their language meaning normal They used this word to distinguish themselves from the Europeans According to the 1996 census Maori population is well over 500000 which is about fifteen percent of the population in New Zealand Of this number more than ninety-five percent live on the North Island Maori oral history has maintained that they arrived from the Polynesian Islands around one thousand years ago in ancestral voyaging canoes The Maori traditions speak of seven great canoes that brought them from their homeland called Hawaiki Maori migrations have been dated between 1200 and 1400 but dispute has been raised as to whether the move was planned or an accidental discovery In most communities people hunted plowed weeded wove and cooked Pastimes include artistry poetry written and oral tattooing and carving wood bone and stone There are many people who have written ethnographies about the Maori One book is called The Maori War Canoe by Jeff Evans It is about the history of these craft how they were traditionally built and what the various parts of the canoe signify One of the key lines from the book is A Maori war canoe being paddled at full speed makes an awesome sight Some other significant ethnographies include authors like Cleve Barlow Charles Higham Ihimaera Witi and Andrew Sharp The population of the Maori suffered soon after introduction to the English They had succumbed to the evils of alcohol along with the introduction of the musket Furthermore they had little or no resistance to small pox influenza typhoid etc The population was reduced from 120000 to 42000 in about a century Today
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