East Coast midwife highlights effects of rising cost of living on whānau

By Oriwa Atkins

Kaniwa Kupenga-Tamarama is the Nāti Pēpi Midwifery Project Lead at Ngāti Porou Hauora.

By Oriwa Atkins, Te Rito journalism cadet.

A parenting survey shows managing the family and household is the greatest source of stress for parents in the current economic climate.

The State of the Nation Parenting Survey by health insurer Nib New Zealand shows how the rising cost of living is shaping parenting.

Some 62% of parents surveyed said the rising cost of living affected their ability to raise children.

Māori (72%) reported they were feeling the crunch to a greater degree and to make ends meet they were reducing spending and were more often going without essentials including meals and petrol (23%) compared to Pākehā (11%). 

Ngāti Porou Hauora midwife Kaniwa Kupenga-Tamarama believes the pressure on whānau in Te Tai Rāwhiti is particularly hard.

“With rising costs you will have to get a second job, less time with your tamariki, and [it will be] stressful living at home. I don't want to say that this is true but it is a reality. Probably going to see more domestic violence too,” she says.

Back to the whenua

“We probably have to return to the ways of our tūpuna, getting back to our whenua, growing veggie gardens, learning how to hunt and fish.” 

Kupenga-Tamara points to the fact that rising costs are pushing whānau out of the cities and back to rural areas as well. 

“But that's good, right. We want more people, people with skills. But how do we go about that with the housing shortages or the long wait for houses? It's alright to live in a tent over summer when it's not raining. But when winter comes, what then?”   

The fourth annual parenting survey by Nib New Zealand and global research company, One Picture, canvassed the views of 1,226 parents, step-parents, and guardians of children under 18 nationally.