2023 Digital Video Storytelling, Long Form, Small/Medium Newsroom winner

What New Zealand Can Teach us About Reparations

About the Project

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.

Judges Comments

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.