Early settlers of New Zealand, often wrongly described as 'native' or 'indigenous'. There are no people native or indigenous to the New Zealand islands. Everyone arrived by boat in one form or another, very recently in human and geological terms, and Maori were by no means the first.
The word "Maori" was coined by Maori themselves to differentiate them from the white people (or 'Pakeha') who arrived after them from Britain, Australia, America, and Europe. The word has been defined as meaning "ordinary" or "normal" people. It did not exist in pre-European New Zealand, where the various tribes knew themselves and one another by individual family and tribal names.
Maori are generally accepted to have been in residence in New Zealand since around 1200 - 1300 AD.
Maori are said to be a Polynesian race, although parts of their geneology have been traced to Taiwan and China, and there are other influences from as far away as Egypt and Sri Lanka. Some East Coast tribes from the North Island possess Portugese genetic markers.
Much of the truth of the origins of Maori is muddied by the editing of history to suit contemporary politics, and by the intermingling of Maori bloodlines with those of the peoples they found already living in New Zealand upon their own arrival.
First British Naval Officer: "We have made a Treaty with the Maori, Sir. All New Zealand land now belongs to us."
Second British Naval Officer: "Excellent. Release the Hounds."
First etc.: "Aye aye, Sir. More rum, Sir?"
Second etc.: "Abso-bloody-lutely. And bring me a Maori wench. I'm tired of all this Naval arse-buggery, never mind how traditional it is. It smacks of homosexuality, if you ask me."
First: "Very good Sir."
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