Abstract and Keywords
Māori are the first nation people of Aotearoa New Zealand, a group of South West Pacific Islands. Colonized by the British Empire, Aotearoa came into being through an act consolidated by the signing of a controversial treaty between Māori tribes and Queen Victoria of England. From their earliest encounter, Māori women, or wahine Māori, experienced a dramatic shift in their social position. Traditionally, they occupied leadership roles at all levels of society. However, colonization instigated a societal reassignment that has led them to their current position behind white males, white females, white children, and Māori males, but ahead of Māori children. Key events in history contributed to the invisibility of wahine Māori in their own context and brought them to their present crisis. To assist the reader in understanding this context, this chapter first considers some key elements of Māori spirituality, and then explores developed and developing relationships, specifically the consequences of the differences between values systems of Māori and the British colonizer. The final section describes the current reality of wahine Māori and draws some conclusions about the influence of globalization in the process.
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