Top five concerns among Māori in 2018

By Jessica Tyson

The top five things that kept Maori awake at night during 2018 have been released through the results of a new study.

Conducted by the National Māori Authority, a survey found the top three concerns for Māori included financial insecurity, homelessness and the state of New Zealand’s rivers and lakes.

Next on the list was the number of Māori children in state care, the number of Māori in prison and the rising suicide rates.

Authority Chair Matthew Tukaki says, “It has been a long year for many people and a number of issues have been in the news.

“From the state of our rivers and lakes to homelessness and from suicide and mental health to the economy. Like all New Zealanders Māori are worried about a number of things but, at the same time, remain hopeful.”

One-quarter of respondents found mounting debt and financial insecurity to be their biggest concern.

Tukaki says, generally Māori are more likely to be involved in the low skilled and low wage growth side of the economy.

“Many expressed a concern that they were often forced to borrow money from whānau and friends to keep above their heads above water, while others have turned to high-interest pay day lender type organisations.”

Homelessness is a major concern for Māori. Source: Māori TV

Meanwhile, 20 percent of people found housing affordability and homelessness to be a major concern.

Tukaki says many Māori continue to be concerned about the fact they cannot get onto the home ownership ladder and were just as concerned for their children and grandchildren.

“Many cannot reconcile the fact we embrace overseas investors and people from foreign countries having been able to buy into the housing market and yet Māori, the first nations people, can barely remain on a level playing field, he says.

“In addition, those who rent cannot see a way out and continue to be frustrated by Housing New Zealand and landlords.”

As guardians of the land and water Māori feel angered at the state of our waterways, says Tukaki.

“Rivers that once could be fished or swum in are now so polluted it is too dangerous even to wade. Māori remain concerned that they feel not enough is being done to arrest the pollution or target those who are taking advantage of the resources.”

The study was conducted through the National Maori Authority's database including 800 Māori, with 781 responding to a series of simple questions.

The top five things that concern Maori are:

1. Mounting debt and financial insecurity (26%)
2. Housing affordability, homelessness (21%)
3. State of rivers and lakes / concern for the land (19%)
4. The number of Maori children in State Care (16%)
5. The number of Maori in prison (9%) & (equal) The rising suicide rate and the mental health system (9%)