Māori, a Politicized Identity: Indigenous Identity, Voter Turnout, Protest, and Political Party Support in Aotearoa New Zealand

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Abstract

Political struggles are important to the identities of many indigenous peoples. This article examines identity as a predictor of crucial political outcomes—voter turnout, support for protest, and political party support—for Māori, the indigenous peoples of Aotearoa (New Zealand). We analyzed data from a national probability sample of Māori (N = 663) that included a scale of subjective identification with various aspects of Māori identity: the Multidimensional Model of Māori Identity and Cultural Engagement. Use of the scale allowed us to examine the facets of ethnic identity that predict political mobilization for indigenous peoples. As expected, the identity domain relating to political struggle, Socio-Political Consciousness, was positively associated with support for left-wing parties and Māori rights protest but negatively associated with support for the right-wing party. However, Socio-Political Consciousness did not relate to voter turnout. These results demonstrate the importance of ethnic identity as a key predictor of political behaviors for indigenous peoples.

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