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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 10. 24 May 1972

A New Migration

A New Migration

In the years prior to the urban migration when 90% of the Maoris lived in the rural communities in their tribal hinterlands, the socio-economic disparities between Maoris and Pakeha were less evident. Those who were failed by the education system were absorbed by the tribal hinterland. It did not matter too much that Maoris were failing to achieve equality with the Pakeha because they still had the marae, their land and their kinship ties as an alternative value system to that provided by the dominant Pakeha society. But the rapid increase of the Maori population from 40,000 at the turn of the century to over 100,000 by 1945 put increased pressure on the diminishing land resources of the Maori. The Maori was impelled to migrate to towns and cities in search of what Metge has called the "big three" factors of work, money and pleasure.

In migrating to the city the Maori has had to make certain adjustments to urban life in order to fit in as a functioning member of urban industrial society. He has had to abandon his extended family pattern of existance, to become more individualistic and self-reliant. The security and controlling influence of the kinship unit was thus weakened. Kinsmen were left behind at the home marae, dispersed to different towns and cities or scattered across the various suburbs of a metropolis such as Auckland. In the initial stages of an urban migration when young people are freed from the constraints of their elders, their kinsmen and community, it is no wonder that young Maoris are filling our penal institutions.

Today, the Maori has adopted the Pakeha norm of a house based on the conjugal family unit. Over 70% of a hundred households surveyed in Otara were of this type The other 30% had in addition to the conjugal family relatives of one spouse or the other, but this was usually a temporary arrangement for out of town visitors or newly arrived migrants in search of work or accommodation of their own. The extended kinship family pattern of the Maori has given way to the conjugal family unit because the latter is more suited to the demands of the urban industrial system. The conjugal family is independent, can set up neo-local residence and go in search of work and economic advantages offered by industry.

Maori design