Fewer New Zealanders of Maori descent see themselves simply as 'Maori', with a large proportion aware of their other ethnic identities. New census data on Maori has just been released - see the Statistics New Zealand report. The stats are interesting for a number of reasons, but in particular it is interesting that for the first time in 2006 the census differentiated between those that claim Maori descent and those that actually identify as Maori - and there is quite a gap between the two categories. Those claiming Maori descent number 644,000, but those identifying as 'Maori' number only 565,000. Furthermore, one in six Maori (102,000) aren't able to name which tribe they are descended from, suggesting that there is a significant break of ties between (urban) Maori and the traditional structures of Maoridom.
Also, of the 565,000 identifying as Maori, only about a half claim that Maori is their sole ethnicity, with the bulk of others claiming to also be pakeha (42%), Pacific (7%), Asian (1.5%) or 'New Zealander' (2.3%). Clearly, the concept of 'Being Maori' is becoming more complicated, and only a minority of New Zealanders of Maori descent see themselves simply as 'Maori'. The blending of 'races' is proceeding at full pace in New Zealand, and there is clearly a strong consciousness of this amongst Maori, with a huge proportion of them seeing beyond a 'black and white' identity.
Other important stats (highlighted by the Maori Party and the NZ Herald) include:
- The Maori population has increased by 30% in the past 15 years
- Maori are younger, are earning less, and have fewer formal qualifications than non-Maori
- The gap in the secondary and tertiary educational achievement for Maori versus non-Maori continues to grow