Māori in Auckland lost nearly 30% of jobs - new report

By Taroi Black

Auckland Council's Independent Māori Statutory Board has commissioned a report based on whānau Māori who have lost their jobs in Tāmaki Makaurau because of Covid-19, particularly in this over-120 day lockdown.

Papakura Marae is one of the marae in the city responding daily to whānau still not recovered and marae chief executive Tony Kake is urging local government and central government to take action as their work has tripled heading into Christmas, he says.

“They're probably doing the best they can but it's not enough.”

This week Papakura Marae, Manurewa Marae, Ngā Whare Waatea Marae and Eden Park are leading their own project called ‘Eight Days Christmas’, preparing gifts, kai parcels and other supplies to whānau in real need. Communities are also supporting this kaupapa by donating their own Christmas gifts. 

This is being seen across Tāmaki Makaurau as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic's negative effects on Māori in financial hardship, social and cultural disconnection, loss and/or reduction in employment and the receipt of welfare support.

 “The purpose of this report is to bring to attention of government, local boards and local council the serious impact on Māori. Yes, the country has been impacted, but Māori more so.”

Effects growing more severe

Some 2000 Māori living in Auckland responded to the survey, which was used to frame the report. Many households indicated that Covid put relationships under stress or was a factor in ending their relationships.

It highlighted some key industries employing high numbers of Māori who were among the hardest hit by the pandemic. The retail, accommodation and food services sector – the biggest employer of Māori – lost nearly 30 per cent of jobs while construction, manufacturing and retail were also hit hard.

Last year there was a 38 per cent increase in the number of Māori job seekers in Tāmaki Makaurau.

Chairman David Taipari says the report provides valuable insights into the effect of Covid-19 on Māori in Tāmaki Makaurau and indicates that the full impact is yet to be felt.

“Given the length of the latest lockdown – more than 100 days – the report shows the cumulative effects of Covid-19 are yet to be fully realised, but are likely to be more severe over time,” he says.

“This is concerning as the report also highlights the negative impact Covid-19 has already had on our Māori communities.”