The Maori culture is one that has been suppressed by colonizers and has been pushed into a reality of poverty. The Maori people seem to be stuck within their past of war and their ancestry. Poverty is all that they know and the majority of them never think of anything beyond the realism of their everyday life because they were once warriors and believe in nothing else. In Alan Duff's book titled Once Were Warriors the Maoris are living in a community called Pine Block where poverty is ever present. Unemployment, alcoholism, fighting and neglect are all factors that keep the Maori people in their world of poverty. Within this book readers follow the Heke family and their ups and downs and watch as they go through a downward spiral straight into despair.
"We used to be a race of warriors We were savages. But warriors, eh. It's very important to remember that. Warriors. Because, you see, it was what we lost when you, the white audience out there, defeated us. Conquered us. Took our land, our mana, left us with nothing" (Duff 41). The Maoris in this community hold onto to their ancestry with a tight grip that they refuse to let go of. When the white people came and took their land away from them it was as if they stripped them of their will to survive in the world. They find themselves in Pine Grove where all the houses look identical and after years of neglect it is become a place where no one "wants to live next door to a slum full of mad Maoris having all night weekend parties." The houses are built so close that neighbors can hear "every fart and fuck and fight" (Duff 50). Everyone on this block share the same problems with money and unemployment as well as the housing situation. The father and soul provider of the Heke family, Jake, believes that since the government will give him money that is almost the sum of his wages at work then he sees no point in working at all. Jake says "Man"d be a fool to himself to go work for the fucking stuff when all he had to do was walk down the footpath to the letterbox on a Thursday morning and it"d be there- Three hundred and sixty smackaroos.