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The Maoris are the native inhabitants of New Zealand. Today they live mostly on North Island. Although they number about 350,000, a recent survey showed that only 70,000 were fluent in the language and another 50,000 could understand it. The government of New Zealand has taken steps to encourage its use and Maori-language kindergartens have been established in many schools. In 1987 it was made co-official with English.