The graph shows the number of Māori prisoners as a percentage of the total prison population. Throughout the 19th century Māori were a small percentage of total prisoners. The spike in Māori prisoners in the 1880s is probably the result of imprisonments for non-violent protest at Parihaka in Taranaki. In the 20th century the percentage of Maori prisoners increased steadily. From 1980 the percentage did not go below 45%.
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Source: Greg Newbold, The problem of prisons: corrections reform in New Zealand since 1840. Wellington: Dunmore, 2007, pp. 55–56.