Māori in Australia

Māori in Australia
Australians of Māori descent
Total population
100, 000[1]
Regions with significant populations

mostly English, also Māori



Related ethnic groups

Other Māori people and Polynesian people

A Māori Australian is an Australian of Māori heritage. In 2008, there were approximately 100,000 people with Māori ancestry living in Australia.[2] Māori Australians constitute Australia's largest Polynesian ethnic group[3]

Māori Australians are sometimes referred to (in a non-derogatory way) as "Maussies", "Ngāti Kangaru" or "Ngāti Skippy". "Ngāti" is a common prefix for the names of Māori iwi, suggesting that Māori Australians form a new overseas "tribe" (iwi) of Māori.[3]




There was no known prehistoric contact between Australian Aboriginals and New Zealand Māori, although the Māori's Polynesian ancestors were accomplished navigators. The first Māori known to have visited Australia travelled to Sydney in European trading ships from 1795 onwards.[4] Māori chiefs traded with Europeans in Australia, bringing back rare goods to New Zealand. An 1823 image of Sydney depicts the presence of Māori.[5]

Māori generally benefited from the same immigration and voting rights as white New Zealanders in Australia, making them a notable exception to the White Australia policy. In 1902, with the Commonwealth Franchise Act, Māori residents in Australia were granted the right to vote, a right denied to Indigenous Australians. During that same period, their right to settle in Australia was facilitated by their shared status as British subjects.[6]

In 1948, however, Australia's federal Minister of Immigration attempted to ban Māori from settling in Australia, in accordance with the White Australia policy. Invoking existing immigration law which excluded Polynesians from Australia, the minister argued that Māori were Polynesians, and could therefore be excluded on racial grounds. The attempt reportedly created a minor diplomatic incident with New Zealand, and the minister involved apologised. Further attempts to restrict Māori immigration in the 1950s were overturned as they violated Māori's rights as British subjects and as New Zealand citizens.[7]

In the 1970s and 1980s, Māori hit by a downturn in their home country's economy emigrated to Australia in search of work.[6]


In 1933, a census indicated there were 197 Māori living in Australia. That number increased to 449 in 1961, 862 in 1966, and 26,000 in 1986.[6]

Significant Māori communities may be found in certain suburbs of Sydney (Penrith, Parramatta, Bankstown) as well as Brisbane, Darwin, Melbourne and Perth. In 2001, there were 19,000 Māori living in Brisbane.[3]

In 2007, the co-leader of New Zealand's Māori Party, Pita Sharples proposed the creation of an additional seat in the New Zealand Parliament, for Māori living in Australia.[8]


Language use

In 1986, it was found that only 22% of Māori Australians spoke Māori at home, and that very few children spoke the language. At present, Māori languages classes exist in Australia, in an attempt to preserve the Māori language there, and there is a Māori-language radio in Sydney.[9]

Notable Māori Australians



Other notable Māori Australians


  1. ^ "Māori overseas - Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand". Teara.govt.nz. 4 March 2009. http://www.teara.govt.nz/NewZealanders/MaoriNewZealanders/MaoriOverseas/en?shortstory=true. Retrieved 2011-02-11. 
  2. ^ "Māori overseas". Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand. http://www.teara.govt.nz/NewZealanders/MaoriNewZealanders/MaoriOverseas/en?shortstory=true. 
  3. ^ a b c "Māori overseas: Settling in Australia". Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand. http://www.teara.govt.nz/NewZealanders/MaoriNewZealanders/MaoriOverseas/3/en. 
  4. ^ "Māori overseas: 18th- and 19th-century travellers". Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand. http://www.teara.govt.nz/NewZealanders/MaoriNewZealanders/MaoriOverseas/1/en. 
  5. ^ "The town of Sydney in New South Wales". Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand. http://www.teara.govt.nz/NewZealanders/MaoriNewZealanders/MaoriOverseas/1/ENZ-Resources/Standard/2/en. 
  6. ^ a b c "Māori overseas: Emigration to Australia". Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand. http://www.teara.govt.nz/NewZealanders/MaoriNewZealanders/MaoriOverseas/2/en. 
  7. ^ "Australia proposes a ban on Māori". Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand. http://www.teara.govt.nz/NewZealanders/MaoriNewZealanders/MaoriOverseas/2/ENZ-Resources/Standard/1/en. 
  8. ^ "Maori Party suggests seat in Aust". Television New Zealand. Newstalk ZB. 1 October 2007. http://tvnz.co.nz/view/page/425825/1385989. Retrieved 19 October 2011. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z "Māori overseas: Retaining Māori culture in Australia". Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand. http://www.teara.govt.nz/NewZealanders/MaoriNewZealanders/MaoriOverseas/4/en. 
  10. ^ http://books.google.com.au/books?id=nklWo8vw-iIC&pg=PR13&lpg=PR13&dq=Tonie+Carroll+maori&source=bl&ots=tGJozivo5h&sig=XdMPVX7jKu-OjwukUDxmgRrc-lU&hl=en&ei=XUO2TZKZBMfLrQfItInUDQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CDoQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=Tonie%20Carroll%20maori&f=false
  11. ^ "Dustin Martin's born to play AFL", Herald Sun, 7 November 2009
  12. ^ http://www.keishacastlehughes.com/Biography.asp
  13. ^ Murder of Sian Kingi

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