People

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Click on the race you want to know more about The major population - Europeans The Maori Pacific Islanders and Regional Influences

Europeans

The majority of pakeha can trace their roots to Britain - mainly England and Scotland -- but also Wales and Ireland. Characteristics that are important to pakeha, and to New Zealanders in general, are a strong sense of justice and fair play, and a respect for hard work and honesty. In many there can be found a quest for adventure and travel, a belief in self-reliance, and a sense that anything is achievable -- all traits that were common in the early settlers, whichever country they came from.

Although many pakeha may retain some of the characteristics of their forebears after four, five and six generations, most have little sentimentality for the traditions of their ancestral homeland. As a stronger New Zealand identity emerges, links with Britain have become much weaker and less obvious, except perhaps in some recent arrivals.

Maori

Like many Eurporeans, there are a number of Maori, particularly in the cities, who have little to do with the traditions of their ancestors. However there has been a large revival of Maori culture and language in recent decades, with growing numbers speaking their native language. Traditional Maori society revolves around the marae. Strictly speaking the marae is an open area in front of a meeting house, but the term is usually used to encompass the meeting house and all the associated buildings on the grounds.

The marae is used to hold different kinds of hui (meetings or gatherings), often lasting several days, and sometimes attended by thousands of people. Hui are held to discuss matters of the iwi (tribe), and also for weddings, visits by important guests, and in particular, for tangis (funerals). A strict protocol is applied to the series of welcomes, greetings, and thank yous, when guests arrive at a marae. Advice and leadership is provided by kaumatua (elders) who are held in high regard for their mana (power and prestige obtained from respect

Others

Around six percent of New Zealand's population is of Polynesian descent, particularly from Samoa, the Cook Islands, Tonga, and Nuie. Many Pacific Islanders came to New Zealand in the 1960s and '70s when the government was encouraging immigration to fulfil a labour shortage. Most have settled in Auckland, giving it a larger Polynesian population than any other city in Polynesia, and adding a distinctly Pacific flavour to this cosmopolitan city.

A great many other cultural infulences are noticeable throughout the country, but are often largely regional or localized. In the south, particularly Dunedin, the influence of the region's original Scottish settlers is still evident in place name, and the sound of bagpipes is not uncommon at some ceremonial functions. Further north, Akaroa on Banks Peninsula has a distinctly French flavour with street names like Rue Lavaud, as well as original French colonial architecture. Some of its current residents are descendants of the original French settlers.

Other Europeans also settled specific areas. The Dalmatians came to Northland to dig Kauri gum, and later make wine, while Germans and Scandinavians came to Nelson and to the southern parts of the North island.<br><br>Several other cultures can be noticed throughout the country including a large number of Dutch immigrants who came to New Zealand after World War II. Very noticeable are the strong English accents which seem to survive even decades after immigrants arrive in New Zealand.

Although the British dominated immigration to New Zealand from the time of the early settlers, the make-up of immigrants in the 1980s and '90s changed considerably, with increasing numbers from places such as South Africa and Indians from India and Fiji. However, the main influx has been immigrants from east Asia -- Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan and China -- who have settled throughout the country, but especially in Auckland.

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