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Conclusion

Tirohia tēnei whārangi i te reo Māori

Traditionally, Māori lived near their ancestral marae. However, urbanisation has meant most no longer do so. While some Māori may be losing a sense of connection to their ancestral marae for this reason, for others it is still a place where they can connect to and reaffirm their tribal and Māori identity and culture.

Te Kupenga showed that most Māori not only know their ancestral marae, but that they also connect to it through visiting. Most Māori had been to their ancestral marae at some time in their lives, with around one-third doing so in the 12 months before the survey was undertaken. Often, those who had been to their ancestral marae in the last 12 months did so between three and five times in that 12-month period.

Most Māori who know their ancestral marae also want to go there more often than they do, especially those that had never been there. However, Māori who go more often – in particular older Māori and those living close to the ancestral marae they think of as their tūrangawaewae – are less likely to want to increase their visits.

Similar patterns are evident in the cultural, social, economic, and demographic characteristics of those connected with their ancestral marae, with cultural factors having the greatest impact.

Cultural measures are strongly linked with connection to ancestral marae, and engagement in other aspects of Māori identity and culture is strongly associated with increased involvement.  For instance, Māori with te reo Māori as their first language, with greater ability to speak te reo, who know all their pepeha, and who consider an ancestral marae as their tūrangawaewae are more likely to visit their ancestral marae than others.

Age is closely linked to ancestral marae connection. Older Māori are more likely than younger Māori to have been to their ancestral marae, to have done so recently, and to have visited more often. It is difficult to separate this as a factor distinct from the cultural factors outlined above however as older Māori are also more culturally connected than younger Māori.

Our findings show that visiting ancestral marae remains an important and relevant way for Māori to connect with their culture, and that marae continue to be a vital aspect of Māori culture and identity.

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