Australia and New Zealand have not always been multicultural societies. Only the Indigenous people, the Aboriginals and the Maoris, once occupied there. Both followed their own cultures and beliefs. But these cultures and beliefs were soon taken due to colonisation. The Indigenous people were devastated by the affect of colonisation. They had to learn to live by other cultures and were no longer able to live the way that they knew and they lost their sense of belonging. The effect of colonisation still affects the indigenous people today. The following will address how colonisation has impacted the Indigenous people in both countries, by looking at their lives before and after colonisation, what happened during colonisation and by comparing and contrasting the two countries. .
Before colonisation in 1788 only the Aboriginal people populated Australia. The population of Aboriginals at the time is uncertain but it is estimated that up to one million lived throughout the country. Aboriginal Australia was not one country but made up of about 300 different nation-states, speaking up to 250 languages. .
These Aboriginals followed strict cultures and beliefs. They treated the land with great respect and referred to it as their "mother". They lived a hunter and gatherer lifestyle, The land was their survival. It is often believed that the Aboriginals didn't own land but wandered. This was believed because they did not mark out their land in ways that were obvious to European countries. There were no fences or barriers, just rivers, lakes and mountains. .
The Aboriginals lived in large close-knit families. Everybody had his or her own responsibilities. Elders passed down knowledge about their culture, beliefs, and sacred sites to the younger generation through talking, song, dance, art, and storytelling. There were no horses or carriages, large farms or sheep and there were no travellers from the other side of the world.