Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Stats NZ report sheds light on Māori housing and wellbeing

Stats NZ has shed some light on housing and wellbeing outcomes for Māori in a new report published today.

It found that Māori who lived close to their ancestral marae were more likely to experience a range of positive cultural outcomes, and own their homes, than those who lived further away. However, they were more likely to face economic hardship.

The information has been published today in Te Pā Harakeke – Māori housing and wellbeing 2021, bringing together data from Census, the General Social Survey, and Te Kupenga (Tatauranga Aotearoa’s survey of Māori wellbeing).

“Good quality housing contributes to physical and mental health, but for many Māori a home is more than just having a roof over their heads. It is also about being connected to people and place – their whakapapa,” Stats NZ work, wealth, and wellbeing statistics senior manager, Sean Broughton said.

“The role of housing in enabling people to connect to their tūrangawaewae is important to Māori wellbeing. The ability to pass down knowledge intergenerationally through collective participation in activities that connect whānau to their whenua is vital to a range of cultural outcomes, such as te reo Māori revitalisation.”

The report states that two thirds of Māori adults aged 15 years and over knew their ancestral marae, and 28% of those who did lived within 30 minutes’ drive. Māori living close to their marae tipuna (ancestral marae) were more likely to be engaged with their culture. They were far more likely to take part in activities related to te taiao (the environment) and were more able to fulfil their roles as mana whenua compared with those who lived further away. For example, they were more likely to:

  • gather traditional Māori kai (65%, compared with 53%);
  • gather materials for use in traditional practices such as raranga (weaving) and rongoā Māori (traditional medicine) (33%, compared with 24%);
  • take care of Māori sites of importance (59%, compared with 33%), and
  • take care of the natural environment (44%, compared with 33%).

In addition, Māori who lived within 30 minutes’ drive of their ancestral marae were more likely to have te reo Māori as the first language they learned and still understood (27%), or to use te reo Māori regularly at home if it is not their main language (37%), compared with Māori who lived further away (22% and 27%, respectively). A higher level of language proficiency was also reported, with those living close to their ancestral marae saying that they were more likely to speak, understand, read, and write te reo Māori well or very well.

Although there were consistent cultural, social, and environmental benefits for Māori living near their marae tipuna, the data shows that this was not the case for economic outcomes. Māori living within 30 minutes’ drive of their ancestral marae were less likely to have a current paid job (63%, compared with 69%) and more likely to report not having enough income to meet everyday needs (17%, compared with 12%), compared with Māori who lived further away.

While Māori living in close proximity to their marae tipuna were more likely to own or partly own their homes (50%, compared with 43%), they were also more likely to live in crowded situations, with 22% living in a home where one or more bedroom was required, compared with 17% of those living further afield.

“This new information can inform housing needs, particularly around papakainga development. Te Pā Harakeke – Māori housing and wellbeing 2021, shows that whānau connecting with their whenua has a range of benefits, but it also highlights a need to ensure that living on your whenua is economically sustainable,” Mr Broughton said.

“It is also important to acknowledge the role that our community marae play when it is harder for whānau to connect back to their ancestral marae.”

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