Cyclical Oppression Of New Zealand : How One Of The Fairest?

1699 Words Sep 29th, 2015 7 Pages
How one of the “fairest” states in the world is overflowing with inequality

Isaac Karlan-Mason
Peoples and Politics of New Zealand
Alan Tidwell
Fall 2015

The Maori population, which makes up 15% of the total New Zealand population, is the second largest ethnic group within the country, falling behind Europeans who make up 74% of the total population. While the Maori are considered to be a critical and equal part of the New Zealand economy and culture, their actual inequality is obvious and staggering. If a child is born into a Maori family instead of a European family, they can expect to live seven years less, they are two and half times more likely to smoke tobacco, they are two times more likely to commit suicide, they are one and half times more likely to be obese, they are two times more likely to participate in potentially hazardous drinking, and in general they can expect to have lower overall life satisfaction. These statistics paint a picture of a marginalized, unjust, and unequal society, in which the indigenous Maori have been oppressed by colonizing Europeans. How can a society that is supposedly rooted in fairness have such distinct differences between its ethnic populations?
When attempting to answer the question posed above, one must first look historically at the treatment of the Maori. Early in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, Polynesian immigrants braved the vast open water of the…
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