One of the awesome things about New Zealand is the strong Maori culture. NZ is the only ex-British colony where the rights of the local tribes were enshrined in law from the very beginning. The 1840 Treaty of Waitangi was signed by all the prominent Maori chiefs on 6 February and is the local equivalent of the US Declaration of Independence.
Makes NZ an Aquarius nation in fact as well as in its ideals.
Things didn’t go so well in later years, when Western immigrants arrived in large numbers, and Maori lost much of their land and rights to the settlers. But the Treaty provided a legal basis for restoration of Maori lands and significant financial compensation in more enlightened times.
As a result, Maori culture and language were revived and are now thriving and integrated into mainstream NZ culture. There’s a way to go still, but Maori did not suffer near extermination like the Native Americans or Australian Aborigines, thanks to that Treaty.
I’m fortunate enough to have many Maori friends. Last year I went to a Maori wedding in a beautiful retreat west of Auckland. We stayed over and had the best time ever, with a feast of incredible food all provided by the Whānau, and I danced the night away. Maori love music, singing and dance above all. Boy do they!