Difference between Maori and Pakeha Cultures

Key Difference: Maori culture is the culture of the Maori people of New Zealand and forms an idiosyncratic part of New Zealand culture. The Pakeha culture is mainly derived from the British settlers who colonized New Zealand.

New Zealand follows two main cultures, Maori culture and Pakeha culture. What is the difference between both the terms? Are they similar to each other? People usually get confused with these cultures of New Zealand, so let’s briefly understand both the terms.

Maori is the official language of New Zealand. New Zealand was discovered by the Maoris. Maori culture has been predominated for most of New Zealand's history of human habitation. Sometime around 1300 AD, New Zealand was occupied by the Maori who came there from Polynesia. At present, there are more than half a million Maoris in New Zealand, making up 15% of the total population of the country. They have a lower income as compared to non-Maoris.

Today, Maori people live throughout New Zealand, and many are actively involved with keeping their culture and language alive. Maori people define themselves by their iwi (tribe), hapu (sub-tribe), maunga (mountain) and awa (river). In recent years, the introduction to Maori language nests (kohanga reo) has rejuvenated the Maori language. The hongi is the world famous Maori greeting of New Zealand.

In the 19th century, the Pakeha culture was mainly derived from the British colonists. The term 'Pakeha' is usually used as one and the same as 'New Zealand European'. Pakeha is basically a language of Maori used in New Zealand. The origin of the Pakeha is unknown, even though the most likely sources are the phrases pākehakeha or pakepakehā. It refers to either fair-skinned persons or any non-Maori New Zealanders. It has been observed that Pakeha itself do not have any culture. They follow the trend of Maoris and they felt like they lack in their own culture. Finally, in 1970’s Pakeha writers and artists commenced to explore issues of Pākehā identity and culture. It was at this point that the word 'Pākehā' rose in popularity, although it remained controversial. Pakeha pop culture is very well-known and highly valued.

Comparison between Maori and Pakeha Cultures:

 

Maori Cultures

Pakeha Cultures

Description

Maori culture is the culture of the Maori of New Zealand and forms a idiosyncratic part of New Zealand culture.

Pakeha culture mainly derived from the British settlers who colonized New Zealand.

Century

14th century

19th century

Language Maori is the ofiicial language of New Zealand. Pakeha is basically a language of Maori used in New Zealand.

Synonym

Maoritanga

New Zealand European

Adaptation

Māori have been receptive adopters of aspects of Pākehā culture.

Pākehā have used many Maori cultural practices when they required something distinctively New Zealand.

Borrowed

The Māori have now borrowed cultural forms and styles from other countries, particularly the United States and the United Kingdom.

The Pākehā have borrowed cultural forms and styles from the Māori, as well as other countries, particularly the United States and the United Kingdom.

Image Courtesy: australian.culturextourism.com, teara.govt.nz

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