The political representation of Maori people in Aotearoa New Zealand

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Indigenous peoples are often underrepresented in the politics of liberal democracies. Therefore, it is crucial to understand whether the presence of indigenous peoples themselves enhance their representation substantively. This possible link between descriptive and substantive representation is widely discussed in the literature (Phillips, 2019; White, 2017; Summersby, 2009; Wängnerud, 2009; Ruedin, 2020; Curtin, 2008; Sawer, Tremblay and Trimble, 2006; Schwindt-Bayer and Mishler). However, the evidence revealing such a link remains inconclusive. On the one hand, Pitkin (1967) argues that the different forms of representation must be studied separately, while Phillips (2019) and Mansbridge (1999) argue that descriptive representation leads to substantial changes. Empirical research is mostly done in the field of gender and representation (Wängnerud, 2009; Ruedin, 2020; Sawer, Tremblay and Trimble, 2006; Schwindt-Bayer and Mishler, 2005; Curtin, 2008 and Mansbridge, 2005). These studies confirm at least a weak link between descriptive and substantive representation. Meanwhile, empirical studies regarding indigenous peoples are less unequivocal (Maddison, 2010; Morris, 2014; Lloyd, 2009; Summersby, 2009; Snagovsky et al, 2020; White, 2017). Thus, this thesis uses a claims-making analysis to study the link between the descriptive representation of Māori people and the substantive claims made on their behalf. Using Aotearoa New Zealand as a single case study, the results confirm the expectation that the presence of Māori people in the national Parliament of Aotearoa New Zealand enhance substantive claims made on their behalf
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