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No. 18 (May 1957)
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No. 18 (Vol. 5, No. 2)


It has Been said recently that if the Maori birth rate keeps near the present level, there will be at least 400,000 Maoris in the year 2000. Of course a lot of things can happen before the year 2000 and nobody can be sure. There is no doubt however, that 400,000 is a reasonable expectation on the facts we have at present, and when thinking of the future it is wise to plan for a Maori population of 400,000 in the not too distant future.

We are fortunate in New Zealand that this rise in population does not need to cause anyone great alarm. In large parts of the world (for instance China and India), the country's leaders dread the fast population rise. Rather than rejoicing in their countrymen's fertility, they can forsee that it will depress standards of living, and frustrate social progress.

In New Zealand there is plenty of space and opportunity and it is a popular saying that babies are the best immigrants. The only small worry is that so many Maori babies are born in those districts where employment opportunities are limited.

It looks, therefore, as if a substantial part of the 400,000 Maoris of the year 2000 will have to find homes away from their ancestral land. We have seen a beginning of a movement to the cities over the last fifteen years; over the next generation we may expect this to grow faster and faster.

It was good to hear Rev. Bennett say at the N.C.C. meeting at Otaki that he thought Maoris in the cities are making a success of their lives, that they are becoming an integral part of the city communities. Rev. Bennett's address is substantially reprinted in this issue.

Yet there are many young people who after two or three years decide that city life is not for them and return to country areas. A definite effort is still necessary to help the young people make a success of their shift to town.

A lot can be and has been done to help young city Maoris—yet, fundamentally, it is in the villages where the children are brought up that the real job lies. By the time young people come to town their personalities are largely formed; their elementary education is finished.

The children are more likely to succeed in town if village life itself is progressive. There cannot be stagnant village life and fully successful migration at the same time. If a village is interested in enriching its social and cultural life, increasing production from the land, and improving farming methods, perhaps introducing small industries, then such a place is thoroughly worth staying in. Those young people who then still go to the cities will have been shown at home how to make their town life successful.

Let us have migration to the cities by all means, but it must be combined with active and progressive development in the country.