1 definition by whakapu

Top Definition
Maori is an adjective habitually misused in New Zealand as a collective noun.

pronounced either maari or moeri if you want a job in TV,
academia, or public service.
Pronounced mow-ri by everyone else.

The literal meaning is "ordinary". That is how
the first group of people who arrived in NZ chose to describe themselves relative to the (slightly) later arrivals who they chose to call pakeha (outsider, alien, foreigner). New Zealand is an homogenised monocultural society (with terrible suppressed racial ethno-political tension). Some New Zealanders have some maori ancestry. None have only maori ancestry. Maori means maori person, a person with some maori ancestry.

In media and political usage "maori" is a collective noun used when attempting to sensationalise a news story or when promoting an outrageous political agenda for one's own personal benefit.
correct usage:
"Rangi is of maori descent"
"Many maori people are fine singers"

incorrect usage:
"maori are outraged"
(maori people do not have a hive mind - like the Borg on
Star Trek)
"maori own the water"
("maori" is not an entity. It is a variable attribute of people,
people who already own or don't own the water in exactly the same way as all the other people who don't have that attribute )
by whakapu September 04, 2012

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