Did you know that there’s only at least one person in the world who’s a full-blooded Māori in New Zealand? I know – I literally just found out too!
Thanks to my curious non-Kiwi friends, I’ve learnt of Oriini Kaipara and her interesting DNA makeup. Learning about her story led me to dive into the Māori population today and now I have some interesting bits to share with you all.
Are there any full-blooded Māori in New Zealand?
Media by: nzmaoritourism
While it is believed that there might be a small number of full-blooded Māori in New Zealand, pinpointing an exact count poses a challenge due to the absence of a dedicated census focusing solely on Māori ancestry.
However, there is a glimmer of certainty amid this: at least one woman in New Zealand has undergone a DNA ethnicity test and confirmed her status as a full-blooded Māori. Enter Oriini Kaipara!
Oriini Kaipara’s Full-Blooded Māori Discovery
Media by: oriinz
In 2017, a groundbreaking DNA ethnicity test taken by millions worldwide uncovered something extraordinary about a woman named Oriini Kaipara. Oriini, a presenter on Native Affairs, decided to take the Ancestry.com DNA test as part of a story on Māori identity.
The results, revealed by DNA specialist Brad Argent, were astonishing. He explained that over time, genetic material often dilutes due to intermarriage.
However, in Oriini’s case, her genetic makeup remained 100 percent Māori, making her a full-blooded Māori.
Specifically, Oriini’s ancestry was found to be 98% Polynesian, essentially Māori. Argent pointed out that it’s rare to find someone of purely one ethnicity. Most people are a mix of various backgrounds, making Oriini’s heritage unique.
This discovery challenged the belief that pure Māori blood had diminished through generations. The test demonstrated that the process could be reversed, indicating that genetic identity is more fluid and complex than previously thought.
However, Oriini was quick to emphasise that being 100 percent Māori didn’t make her more Māori than anyone else. She also embraced the outcome, understanding that while DNA is a part of who people are, it doesn’t define their entire identity.
Māori Ethnic Population in New Zealand Today
Media by: nzmaoritourism
As of June 2022, New Zealand had approximately 892,200 people who identified as Māori, making up 17.2% of the total population. However, not all of them are full-blooded Māori.
This number includes individuals who consider themselves Māori, regardless of their family background. It encompasses people with mixed heritage and those who have Māori roots from a few generations back.
Being Māori is more than just genetics: it’s about family ties, or whakapapa. This means someone can proudly embrace their Māori heritage, even if their ancestry isn’t purely Māori.
Acknowledging the diversity within the Māori community, it’s evident that there are still individuals with purely Māori heritage.