Maori vs Aboriginal
The indigenous tribes of people living in Australia are referred to as aboriginal, their Trans Tasman counterparts, the indigenous or native population of New Zealand is labeled as Maori. There are many who believe these two people to be similar to each other and often treat Maoris as aboriginals. However, those who have been to both Australia and New Zealand and explored the indigenous population of the two countries feel there are indeed many differences between them.
It is true that, in both Australia, as well as NZ, the original inhabitants have suffered the most because of colonization and have traditionally struggled to keep their distinct cultural identity. Despite this shared onslaught of outside people, there are a lot of differences that pertain to language and culture mostly. Both countries were invaded by British, and the modern civilizations are, therefore, similar and shared. Australia, being a harsh territory with snakes and deserts was used as a penal area for convicts and criminals. On the other hand, NZ, being a nice place to live because of lakes and glaciers, was treated as a religious colony by the British.
Before the British arrived, NZ was occupied by the Maoris who came here from Polynesia sometime around 1300 AD. The word Maori means the local people, and after the arrival of the Europeans, Maori came to represent the local people in NZ. There are more than half a million Maoris today in NZ, making up 15% of the total population of the country. Maoris have lower life expectancy, as well as lower income, than other New Zealanders. They also have a higher crime rate with lower employment and less access to health and education.
The native population of Australian continent that arrived more than 60000 years ago from Indian continent is termed as aboriginals in the country. By 18th century when Europeans first arrived in Australia, there was a healthy population of aboriginals in the country that totaled around 700000. The language of these aborigines surprisingly is English today with a healthy sprinkling of aboriginal words and phrases. Aboriginals were mainly hunter-gatherers that later engaged into agriculture also.
What is the difference between Maori and Aboriginal?
• Maori influence on composite culture of NZ is evident to even outsiders while aborigines have remained aloof and maintained their cultural identity. One can see a Maori dance being performed before rugby games in NZ and a Maori monarch in NZ, which is a proof of the acceptance of the indigenous people with the rest of the population. This is perhaps because there was no monolithic aboriginal culture in Australia.
• In fact, there were around 250 aboriginal languages in Australia rather than a single Maori language in NZ.
• Aboriginals have their own flag while Maoris do not have their flag
• Maoris take pride in their Maori language, and their traditions of tattoos and other cultural practices.
• Maoris are believed to have arrived in NZ in 1300 AD from Polynesia while aboriginals are much more ancient, dating back to more than 60000 years and coming from Indian subcontinent.
As of 2010, Maori do have their own flag.