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Learning English - Words in the News
23 August, 2006 - Published 10:48 GMT
Maori new king
Maori new king

Indigenous Maori elders in New Zealand have named a new king. Fifty-one-year-old Tuheitia Paki is the eldest son of the previous monarch, Dame Te Atairangikaahu, who died last week at the age of seventy-five, after a reign of forty years. This report from Ben Lowings:

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The Maori King movement, known as kingitanga, began in 1858, partially in response to the colonisation of New Zealand by the imperial forces of Britain's Queen Victoria. A treaty signed by a number of Maori chiefs at Waitangi in the North Island ceded New Zealand to the British Crown. It stated that if Maori wanted to sell their land then they could only deal with Queen Victoria's authorised agents.

Some North Island Maori sought to reach a common position on the use of their land. To help this goal, the first Maori King was created -- he was Potatau Te Wherowhero of the Tainui tribe in the central North Island region of Waikato. Governing members of the modern-day Tainui tribe have been saying other Maori tribes would have a say on who would become the new sovereign after the death of Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu.

In recent years what's been described as a Maori renaissance has flourished in New Zealand, promoting the use of the Maori language and a greater awareness of tribal ancestry. In recent years many Maori have united against the New Zealand government, in protest at its efforts to clarify ownership of the country's extensive foreshore. The row led in part to the formation of a small but powerful new Maori party.

Ben Lowings, BBC

Listen to the words

born and living in a region, belonging naturally to a place

a supreme ruler; a king, queen, emperor, empress or the equivalent

sovereignty, rule; a period of time when a monarch rules the country

a formal agreement between states or nations

gave up the rights to and/or possession of

tried to find

aim, the object of someone's effort

a supreme ruler; a king, queen, emperor, empress or the equivalent

tribal ancestry
the origins of a group of communities linked by social, economic, religious or blood ties and usually having a common culture and dialect and a recognized leader

the part of the shore between the water and developed land

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