Maori remain a generation behind pakeha, new study shows

Economist Brian Easton's study provides "brutal numbers."

The urbanisation of Maori from the 1960s has led to much progress and higher material standards of living. But a new study also finds the cost of failure has been high and is rising.

Economist and social statistician Brian Easton’s Heke Tangata: Maori in Markets and Cities (Oratia Press) says while many Maori have successfully navigated the second great migration, they remain a generation behind pakeha in social and economic advancement.

The migration from rural areas accelerated in the mid-1960s when wool prices collapsed and the economy struggled to cope for two and a half decades, Dr Easton writes. Maori fell further behind as they lost government support programmes in the pro-market reforms of the 1980s.

Dr Easton’s study was commissioned by West Auckland-based Te Whanau o Waipareira Trust to update a classic study, The Maori People Today (1940), co-edited by Sir Apirana Ngata.

Trust chief executive John Tamihere says the aim is to provide an objective set of Maori statistics covering education, health, employment, income, wealth including housing, and the criminal justice system.

“There is a widely held misconception that Maori are preferenced by access to a whole bunch of funds,” he says.

“This is not true. The point of the book is to stop this emotion and the name-calling and get down to some brutal numbers. If we are going to continue to go down this track we have major problems as a country.”

'Brutal' figures
Dr Easton provides this summary of “brutal” figures:

• In educational achievement, Maori are 20 years behind pakeha – a Maori born in 1985 will have, on average, parents with a qualification level similar to that of the grandparents of the Pakeha born the same year.

• Unemployment is higher among Maori than is generally realised and they tend to be in low-income jobs.

• While life expectancy has increased, in 2011 it was the same as a non-Maori 25 years earlier. In 1946, Maori life expectancy was 20 years behind non-Maori.

• Maori incomes are lower than pakeha ones, with Maori males relatively lower than female ones.

• Maori are heavily over-represented in the jail population. Maori males make up 50% and women 60%.

• Maori have much lower wealth than pakeha, with consequential inferior housing, wellbeing, health and prospects.

No signs of disappearing
In the interview, Mr Tamihere says these disparities show few signs of disappearing as the welfare state is geared to managing problems rather than providing solutions.

Describing the billions of dollars in cost as a "national catastrophe," he accuses politicians and bureaucrats of sustaining a system that has spawned a host of agencies wedded to outdated delivery systems.

He cites the example of a nine-year-old abused girl who had contact with 14 agencies but none would take responsibility for her, each blaming the other for her plight.

“You’ve got helpers galore but none of them run integrated programmes where all that investment for one person works,” he says.

Taxpayers are being “punished” financially and in other ways because problem signs such as truancy in primary school are not being picked before they become obvious later in the form of anti-social behaviour and crime.

“Society is being double taxed on the deficit side – the criminal justice system – as well as on the positive with assistance in housing, education and welfare.”

He predicts gated communities in 15 years if these trends are not reversed.

Aversion to modern techniques
Mr Tamihere partly blames an aversion to modern techniques such as data mining and profiling that is used by organisations like his to identify the problem cases.

“We know where our apprentices are coming from in organised crime and we need to seize on that,” he says.

Universality of entitlements, such as free doctor visits and schooling, benefit the middle class but lack the effectiveness of targeting and incentives when it comes to lower-income groups.

“The welfare state does not reward getting off your backside and doing things and reward. It entraps and embeds co-dependence,” he says.

Mr Tamihere advocates a need for radically new approaches such as decentralisation and fewer funding sources so social workers and others are rewarded for solutions.

“They are funded off the failure, not the fix,” he says.

All content copyright NBR. Do not reproduce in any form without permission, even if you have a paid subscription.


34 · Got a question about this story? Leave it in Comments & Questions below.


This article is tagged with the following keywords. Find out more about MyNBR Tags

Post Comment

34 Comments & Questions

Commenter icon key: Subscriber Verified

Oh my. Our nations eternal topic, isn't it?
Maori blame Pakeha for ripping them off and Pakeha blame Maori for being dumb and lazy. Actually, neither are solely responsible and Tamihere is right, we all need to move on.
The past 50 years have been a disaster and a triumph for Maori and NZ Inc. with neither group still not totally happy with the outcomes. Surely we need to be trying something to change things up and local/regional test cases are worth a go. If Tamihere wants to try something different and the powers that be thinks it got merit, let's try it. We need real answers to this question before it takes us all down with it.
Having said that, with the Waitangi Tribunal finally seeing an end in site, but it needs to be accompanied by a change of attitude all round. This almost 50 year process, has been hard for everyone but essential to moving forward as a nation. And, to be fair, the reset is proving to be a worthwhile experience, with some good results on the board already. There's still the non-paying of taxes by these ''corporates'' and the double dipping of the beneficiaries situation to address, however, things are being redressed and everyone needs keep up the momentum if we are to have any hope of lifting the dark spirit of mistrust that still envelopes us. Actually, being a generation behind the Pakeha is actually quite a good achievement, I believe. I would have put it closer to a century.
However, poor decision making is still hurting Maori. Namely the removal of their own beaten up children to safe homes on cultural grounds, which shows us how bitter and angry they still are towards the Pakeha and their systems. This decision has effectively locked in that anger for another two generations. If Maori were at all confident in their own culture they would take the 40 years worth of advice from the University of Otago and keep their kids safe. And, if the culture actually had something to offer, it would attract those children back on its on merits. And I believe it would.
This recent decision tells us they prefer to lock them up into their culture, which opens themselves up to the downside of wider Whanau abuse which we see and read about every day. Maori behaviour is far worse to other Maori than they ever were/are towards the Pakeha. This is an outstanding inter-tribal issue from long before the Europeans arrival and one which can only be addressed from within.
Today, however, this story is not just about a culture. It's about the survival of a nation, and we're all in this together whether we like it or not.
Summary: 150 years of mistrust on both sides is going to be hard to win back.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

If you keep on telling a people they are failures then guess what...............they will be failures.

Reply
Share
  • 2
  • 1

I don't think that's entirely true. Some people when told they are a failure set out to prove the messenger wrong. Once read a story about a man called Loser and a man called Winner. As the true story goes Loser turned out to be a winner and Winner a loser. Go figure

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Decades after the start of the Maori cultural renaissance and billions of dollars invested, the stats are still appalling. Time to shake things up and try something new.

Reply
Share
  • 1
  • 0

Could be that being one generation behind is actually progress and cause for hope rather than lamentation.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 1

The title of the article suggests the continue to be a generation behind but there doesn't seem to be anything in the article to support that. Were Maori 2 generations behind and are now 1? Were Maori half a generation behind and are now one generation behind?

Whilst its tempting to compare to other nations indigenous people (USA and Australia) whose indigenous peoples would be fairing much worse, I think NZ need to continue to focus on helping Maori close that gap.

Reply
Share
  • 1
  • 0

The evidence is in Brian Easton's book and is summarised in the first bullet point quoted from it. The use of the word Pakeha also comes from the book and applies to all non-Maori for statistical purposes. The Susan Wood interview also quotes these figures showing a gap remains when comparing generations (say 20-30 years).

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Education is an important part of the solution. The three wananga are impressive organisations and should be better funded to do what they do.

Reply
Share
  • 1
  • 0

So who are pakeha then? Asians? Africans? Or is the word pakeha just a derogatory word to use for european new zealanders,,, seems the trend to be racist against european new zealanders,, especially loathsome when used as to make a point

Reply
Share
  • 3
  • 1

There has been a trend recently to try to legitimise the word and pretend that it never had racist connotations. There are, however, quite a few of the older, and especially rural, generation who remember being insulted with the P-word throughout their childhood.

It is rather disgusting that the NBR would use it; but, as I say, it does seem like people are trying to legitimise it now. I do wonder quite how much outcry there would be if they used the n-word instead.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 1

Just like many other myths which New Zealanders have grown up on, oft repeated and now taken as gospel, the "P-word" isn't actually derogatory. Here's some light-reading on the subject:

https://maorinews.com/writings/papers/other/pakeha.htm

Also, pick up Michael King's History of New Zealand and have a read of all the other myths which have been repeated ad infinitum, so much so they have become "fact". Seriously, you will be quite astounded how led down the garden track this country has been in regards to its history!

Reply
Share
  • 1
  • 0

As much as you may say that the P-word isn’t derogatory; my parents and my grandparents were repeatedly called it in a racist and derogatory way when growing up as kids in rural NZ. It is a racist slur and should not be used as it causes offence to large numbers of New Zealanders.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Agreed. Just because you say it isn't derogatory doesn't make it so in people's minds.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Doesn't that smack of the "perpetually outraged" who go looking for things to be mad about though? I suspect those are the same type of people who would side with the devil himself if he were against some, or any, initiative which had benefits for Maori.

"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but Maori words will always outrage me!"

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Couldn't agree more.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

I do have some issues with the excuses given. Now of those things he says middle class families take for granted were present in my upbringing. One of 6 kids in a low decile area (we didn't have such measurements back in my day but it was then one of the cheapest housing areas in Auckland). Looking back, my schooling was adequate but nothing more - much time wasted, no one on one care or attention (and that includes from my busy parents) so basically left to our own devices. We would also have been classified as Maori. However our parents were sober, employed, honest, believed in education, were connected to the community and taught the value of integrity, hard work and education. So guess what? We are now all more or less top 10 percenters in terms of wealth and other social indicators. Sure many Maori have issues and I don't underestimate the challenges people face. But if you are Maori and want higher education there are plenty of scholarships available to you (I know my tribe is offering them). None of that was available in my day. Yes genetics may come to play and yes the NZ social system supported of the average person of limited means but I think it still does today. Regardless of your school and social situation it is family and personal responsibility which will determine your outcomes above all else. In many ways people who come from limited means and challenging circumstances have a latent advantage over the privileged ones because their feeling of lack and want can drive performance

Reply
Share
  • 3
  • 0

It is totally incorrect to compare Māori and Pakeha - it is a wrong comparison, based on wrong common denominators, and is Racist.

It IS correct to compare New Zealanders ( of all race types) who are failing vs those that are succeeding. Identifying the differences between these two groups is far more important. It is values, principles, attitude and ethics that create failure or succcess, not the pigmentation of their skin.

Everyone born in this country in the last few generations has had equal opportunities. In the last 100 years we have been through 2 world wars, a Great Depression and numerous financial meltdowns that have leveled the playing field for many.

Many Pakeha who originally arrived here had little more than the clothes they were wearing.

Given that money is simply a means of exchange of value, anyone’s wealth or poverty can be linked back to production and wealth.

Brainwashing Māori to have them believe that their poverty is linked to the arrival of Pakeha is absolute balldust. Especially when there is plenty of evidence that the Chinese, Celts, and Pacific Morioris we’re here long before Māori. When Pakeha arrived it was in Māori history and boasted about by the Maoris as to how they conquered, ate and killed off the mainland Morioris and forced the remaining Morioris to the Chatham Islands. It only became unfashionable to talk about it, when A. It was recognized as cannabalism, and an embarrassment, and B. It impacted on future land settlements. Due to political correctness, most books containing that history, were removed from public archived and burnt decades ago. It’s time to move on and address failure on an individual basis and take responsibility. And stop blaming others.

Reply
Share
  • 3
  • 0

I don't think there is equal opportunity in this country for Maori. There is no such thing as a level playing field. This is seen every where. Just looking at earnings. the top 10 per cent in New Zealand earn 8.6 times the income of the bottom 10 per cent. As most Maori are either on benefits or low wages, straight away one can see the playing field is tilted against the bottom 10 per cent. Research also shows that income inequality leads to increased mortality ... so the playing field becomes slightly more tilted against the bottom lower incomes. There is a difference in life expectancy between Maori and non Maori ... lets tilt the playing field even further ...Then if were look at suicide rates, academic achievement qualifications, infant mortality rate, Housing affordability and stability, and over crowding. internet access in the home, we can rattle the playing field again .. I think you get my drift ...

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Having made my earlier comment much of the rest of what he said I agree with. The most damning thing is the self interest and inertia of government departments and the lack of real leadership there, They appear to be focused on processes rather than the right outcomes. Indeed he seems to be saying the same things that Bill English was saying. In a growing economy where labour is in short supply collecting a long term unemployment benefit should simply not be an option. It may be more expensive in the short term but work programs must be a better solution than that. Simply driving around NZ it is obvious how many "jobs" there are to be done. Lets start by removing gorse, broom, rabbits, possums and other noxious and unwelcome imports to our country. It should not be possible for a young strong male or female be allowed to collect a long term benefit rather than get out there and deal with some of these issues.

Reply
Share
  • 3
  • 0

When I was 6 we moved into a state house from the transit camp at western springs by the zoo. The excitement was immense. New shiny floors. Flash kitchen and new wallpaper. Went to Mt Roskill Primary. Dad had good job but didnt pay that well. No paths or lawns so I helped dad to dig the ground over by hand and plant it in potatoes. Next year raked it into soil and planted grass seed. Put down some aggregate as paths base. Over next few years Dad saved up to get some cement and mix and I helped him to pour the paths. He built a carport on the side of the house and we dug out a workshop by hand under the house. We planted an amazing garden vege and flowers and made some internal renovations inside. When I was about 12 he said to me you will get nowhere mate if you dont get off your ass and find work. I found a Herald run and a Star run. After the Stars were delivered I delivered Barry Magees 4 Square groceries to the old ladies. Then a Chemist opened up and I ended up doing his deliveries as well. I did not to badl y st yhe time.
Around the road there were some Maori families. There properties look not much different from when they moved in. Our main problem was that they would bully me if they could. Btw my Dad purchased the house under some scheme the State Advances had going at the time and paid a good part of it off over 20 odd years. He sold it for $100 and bought a lovely unit in Green Bay which he sold 10 years later for a hell of a good profit and bought a beautiful place in Titirangi. Interesting I thought.
Cheerz
Kerry Pennell

Reply
Share
  • 1
  • 0

Your father, and I assume your mother as well, were very smart people. I was lucky to be born in to the same type of family, where morals and integrity were instilled from a young age.

I hope you thank your parents every day - I certainly do for mine, as they made the person who is here today.

Reply
Share
  • 1
  • 0

Maori, heal thy self. Because this Pakeha is sick of hearing about it.

Here's a little story. Some decades ago when I was in the 4th Form at High School, there were about 4-5 Maori boys in my class. Two came from a gang background and the others from working-class families. One day in geography the teacher set a test for the class on California which we had just finished studying. The papers were submitted, scored and the marks duly read out. And lo and behold, the highest mark in the class went to T Wai, one of the boys from the gang background. He had never before ever received the top mark in class for anything, usually, he came in the bottom with the other Maori boys. When his name was read out, his Maori mates all put the boot in. "Oh, I suppose you think you're a genius now". "You think you're too good for us, eh?". "Teachers pet". And so on and so on and so on.

He was shamed by his people for achieving. He was belittled for doing well. He was beaten down for standing out. He was reminded in no uncertain terms by his peers that education was not something to be valued or celebrated moreso if he wanted to remain one of their mates.

I don't know why he did so well on that particular test, I'm assuming it was because there was something in or about that topic that he found really interesting. But clearly, there was a very capable brain there, held back by his people. And for what, because they were jealous, because they felt inadequate, because they felt frightened? Because they felt stink (stupid)?

And sadly a few months later on the day he turned 15, he turned up mid-morning in class with a slip of paper for the teacher to sign. It was his last day at school. The last time I saw him he was a patched gang member.

So fix that Maori. Get your people to value education, and to pursue and celebrate academic achievements as a win for all Maori.

Reply
Share
  • 4
  • 0

I grew up in a decile one area and the same peer pressure was also placed on very intelligent and capable Maori students there. Most went from capable to one of the bro's in short order and quietly dropped out of school. Several managed to escape and make something of their life by moving to Aussie to get away from the wonderful people that thought the loser lifestyle was the way to go.

Noone apart from Maori can change this attitude to their own people being successful. It was their own family members doing it. Money won't change this........but I am sure there are lots of people who will tell you a few extra dollars will do it and they have the answers........

The Kaumatua need to be very vocal against these poor attitudes and be prepared to come out into the public arena to say it is not OK........but I guess some of them would be a lot poorer if there wasn't lots of money being poured into fixing the problem.....

Reply
Share
  • 1
  • 0

Everyone has the same opportunities from when they are born in New Zealand. Free education primary and High school. The unfortunate choices some people make like having Kids then going on the DPB. Mothers have had the opportunity to gain free education and taught about contraception at school.
Lazy is a condition and an easy CHOICE !

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

>"Everyone has the same opportunities from when they are born in New Zealand.

This comment came straight out of my rear end. Surely no one can be so blind?

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Well you've just proved by your comments that you can be.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

I suggest you get out and see more of NZ.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Good comment Steve, but I would rather you took the colour out of your post as your solution applies to ALL families who refuse to be lawfully contributing units in society.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

What absolute nonsense.

To start with most Maori are part Pakeha so how can “they” be behind Pakeha?

Then whereas Pakeha have family assets that can be attributed to tightly held structures, Maori have Iwi wealth that should be divided between them and accounted for in statistics. Run the numbers again and if this is taken into account Maori aren’t the hopeless failures that the media and academics want them to appear. They hold their assets and income streams in a different way. Whether that’s lead to inequality and poverty within Maoridom is their own business as it would be with any Pakeha extended family not handing out the goodies in a fair way.

Find an indigenous minority culture in the world doing better than Maori as a whole.

Of course there are dropkick Maori out there failing to better themselves but there are dropkick Pakeha failing as well.

Reply
Share
  • 2
  • 0

It's an interesting cycle this. Using the stats to drive racially targeted funding but then denying there are racially based special benefits.
Those that benefit from the individual opportunities such as scholarships etc do access race based opportunity.
Perhaps though the education from an increasingly narcissistic western culture while providing knowledge also encourages individualism so the flow back into iwi is not as direct as if whanaungatanga or collectivism was more persistent.

Reply
Share
  • 1
  • 0

Just interesting reading all these comments in a row, as well as on other social media/news sites, as well as taking my own experiences into account over the pas decade and a half.

I see NZ is going to get worse before it gets better in regards to this subject. Not shelving blame on any one particular side by any means, but there are A LOT of chips on A LOT of people's shoulders in this country.

Total shame, as our beautiful country hides such a nasty underbelly...

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 1

The study is a big "so what" really.

If NZ women of all races were broken into a category and compared versus NZ men of all races you could probably conclude NZ women were at least a generation behind men as well. What does that mean?

Then they marry them, share assets and income and can claim to own half their wealth. Rather like what Maori and Pakeha in NZ have done.

Reply
Share
  • 1
  • 0

Thomas Sowell said "Entitlement" is not only the opposite of achievement, it undermines incentives to do all the hard work that leads to achievement, i grew up in Manurewa and learned to hang on to my lunch at high school there were classmates who were not brought up, they were dragged up, both Pakeha and Maori, some Maori class mates went to Australia where instead of being mollycoddled they were given an opportunity to work and got on with it, most if not all will agree its leaving the environment they grew up in that lead to their success.
I dont blame Pakeha, i blame "blame" this relentless need to attribute a lack of motivation on anything other than yourself perpetuated by the mewling of leftist academics who will always know best without ever having set foot in manurewa

Reply
Share
  • 3
  • 0

I use the term Pakeha to distinguish the group who are non-Maori but are not Pasifika nor Asian. I dont use the term European since it is a racial term. The terms are self-categorisation.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Post New comment or question

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.