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New Zealand

New Zealand - New Zealand Sarah Benton Intercultural...

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New Zealand Sarah Benton Intercultural Communications (Thurs. Night) 5/9/08
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New Zealand, a country 1250 miles southeast of Australia, has an unexpectedly diverse culture for its small land mass. Citizens of New Zealand are made up of descendants from Polynesia/Asia, Great Britain, Australia and other parts of the South Pacific. It has a large cultural influence from larger countries around the world such as America, Australia, China and Great Britain. The original inhabitants of New Zealand, the Maori, also retain much of their original culture through language, holiday celebrations, religion and family and tribal ties. While many Maori descendants no longer practice the traditions or speak the language, it is still a rising force in the country. This part of New Zealand history is so important that the government declared Maori one of the national languages in the 1980s. Because of this rich aboriginal and immigrant history, New Zealand boasts one of the more diverse cultures in the South Pacific. The Maori arrived in New Zealand sometime around 1300 AD. The culture of these people was somewhat lost in the arrival of Europeans to New Zealand in the 1800s. The Maori refer to themselves as “tangata whenua”, or people of the land, and the term “maori”, in the Maori language, literally means normal, or ordinary. These descriptions directly coincide with the culture’s beliefs that their land is who they are. During World War II, when all citizens but the Maori were drafted, many Maori men voluntarily signed up, stating that they must defend their “iwi” (tribal grounds). The Maori, while now predominantly Presbyterian or Catholic, originally followed their own strict religion, giving thanks to many deities that were strongly tied to the land. Maori rituals were very important to the culture, and still are today. Festivals such as the Diwali, Pasifika, and the
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New Zealand - New Zealand Sarah Benton Intercultural...

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