Māori culture is the culture of the Māori of New Zealand (an Eastern Polynesian people) and forms a distinctive part of New Zealand culture. There have been three distinct but overlapping cultural eras—before widespread European contact, the 1800s in which Māori began interacting with European visitors and settlers, and the modern era since the beginning of the 20th century. The present culture of the Maori has been strongly influenced by western European culture but remnants of the old culture have been retained and revived, though often in a modified modern form. Maori speak fluent English but the New Zealand government has established government funding, organizations and schooling systems to encourage the learning and usage of the Maori language. As a result there is now more awareness of their culture by young Maori. Within the Māori community, and to a lesser extent throughout New Zealand as a whole, the word Māoritanga is often used as an approximate synonym for Māori culture, the Māori suffix -tanga being roughly equivalent to the qualitative noun ending “-ness” in English.