Throughout the world, groups of indigenous peoples thrive despite the ever-advancing encroachment of other societies; one such group of people are indigenous to New Zealand, called the Maori. Hailing originally from Polynesia, the first Maori settled in what is today New Zealand in the early-1300s. For approximately 300 years, they remained isolated, developing a unique culture and way of life all their own. As more and more Europeans appeared, arriving first in the 17th century, the Maori people gradually adopted Western customs, altering their own indigenous culture.
While the first interactions between Europeans and Maori were largely friendly, this soon devolved into a relationship of tension and competition over increasingly scarce resources - namely, land. The result was Europeans seizing Maori land, the spread of disease among a native population that did not have immunity, and a general trend of social unrest among them. As time passed, the Maori population was able to bounce back and restore their numbers, improving their overall status in the society of New Zealand.
The Maori still experience a host of problems, however. The life expectancy of the Maori is less than that of other New Zealanders, as is the average income. Additionally, there is a significant educational achievement gap between Maori and other members of the population of New Zealand, and they experience higher rates of crime and increased health problems. Despite these trends, there are frequent attempts to level the playing field and provide the Maori with socioeconomic benefits that could improve their overall quality of life.