When the British colonized New Zealand, they left the country’s indigenous Māori population with nearly no land; war and new diseases they introduced to the islands nearly killed off all Māori. Nevertheless, Māori managed to survive — and for decades they protested against the British crown’s pillaging. By the 1970s, the crown could no longer ignore Māori’s mass uprisings rallying for justice; it was forced to respond and established a tribunal to investigate how it violated Māori sovereignty over New Zealand.
Since 1995, the British crown has been engaged in a process of land settlements with Māori — giving the tribes back land and cash, and offering apologies for their historical and modern-day thefts. By putting billions of dollars into this reparations program since the mid-1990s, New Zealand is leading the world with this kind of atonement and redress.
In this special episode of our much-loved series Missing Chapter, Vox reporter Fabiola Cineas traveled across New Zealand to explore how Māori are using the compensation to build a new future for themselves — and to investigate what the US can learn about reparations from their story.
A relevant and timely story that tackles the complex subject of reparations and what that means in real world terms. This is a model for what other governments can do to center indigenous voices when considering what reparations can look like.