In addition, more than 140,000 Māori live in Australia.

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By the start of the 20th century, the Māori population had begun to recover, and efforts have been made to increase their standing in wider New Zealand society and achieve social justice.

Traditional Māori culture has thereby enjoyed a significant revival, which was further bolstered by a Māori protest movement that emerged in the 1960s.

In the 2013 census, there were approximately 600,000 people in New Zealand identifying as Māori, making up roughly 15% of the national population.

They are the second-largest ethnic group in New Zealand, after European New Zealanders ("Pākehā").

Before 1974, the government required documented ancestry to determine the legal definition of "a Māori person".

For example, bloodlines or percentage of Māori ancestry was used to determine whether a person should enroll on the general electoral roll or the separate Māori roll.

Migration accounts vary among tribes (iwi), whose members may identify with several waka in their genealogies (whakapapa).

In the last few decades mitochondrial DNA research has allowed an estimate to be made of the number of women in the founding population—between 50 and 100.

Socioeconomic initiatives have been implemented aimed at closing the gap between Māori and other New Zealanders.

Political redress for historical grievances is also ongoing.

In matters involving financial benefits provided by the government to people of Māori ethnicity, for example scholarships or Waitangi Tribunal settlements, authorities generally require some documentation of ancestry or continuing cultural connection, such as acceptance by others as being of the people, but no minimum "blood" requirement exists as determined by the government.