Aotearoa/New Zealand, with a population of four million people, is a democracy, with a mixed member proportional system of representation. Although there is a wide spectrum from the right to left of politics, generally the government is centralist. A treaty – the Treaty of Waitangi – was signed in 1840 between the British Crown and the majority of Maori chiefs, land wars followed, and there is still often tension between indigenous Maori and pakeha (New Zealanders of European descent). Maori traditions and language were close to dying out after the Second World War, but since the 1960s, there has been a renaissance and resurgence in all areas of things Maori (from language to science); the country is now regarded as bi-cultural, with Maori recognised as an official language. More recently, immigration from the Pacific Islands and Asia has opened up the cultural and political scene.
New Zealand composers are generally socially aware, and in their work may address issues to do with the environment, conservation or bi-culturalism, either overtly or obliquely. One of the stronger political pieces was Chris Cree Brown’s Black and White, (1987), which documented the controversial Springbok tour of 1981.