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Why New Zealand’s Maori do better than Australia’s Aboriginals

When James Cook landed in Australia in 1770, Aboriginals had been there for about 60,000 years. Their 500 or so separate nations lacked kingpins or settled agriculture, so colonisers deemed the land terra nullius, free for the taking. Aboriginals were butchered or displaced, and later their children were stolen and placed in foster care under a cultural assimilation programme that lasted for six decades. They got the vote only in 1962. After a referendum five years later, they were included in the census. But not until 1992 did the high court recognise that they should have some claim over their land.

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