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Housing quality, health and whānau wellbeing

Shelter is a basic human need (Maslow 1943) and access to housing is a fundamental human right. A house is more than a physical dwelling that offers shelter; for many, it is a space that provides structure and meaning, and relates to feelings, emotions, memories and experiences, whether raising a whānau or discovering newfound independence. For Māori, the multi-layered concept of kāinga is broader still. Literally meaning ‘village’, kāinga is a home space where identity, whakapapa and whenua come together (Henare 2014). Kāinga is where individuals and whānau can sustain and care for themselves and others through practices of whanaungatanga (connecting with kin) and manaakitanga (acts of reciprocal caring). Kāinga is also closely related to the concept of tūrangawaewae, denoting a sense of physical and spiritual belonging or attachment to a place. Kāinga and tūrangawaewae thus share similarities with the meaning of home but mean much more than simply ‘being housed’ (Brown 2017). While housing and housing quality form only part of what it means to be ‘at home’, access to a warm, dry, safe, secure and watertight house is a basic right for all whānau and tamariki. In this section, we focus on the relationships between housing quality, health and wellbeing to better understand the extent of housing quality issues that whānau Māori face, and how housing quality, in turn, affects health and wellbeing. To our knowledge, this is the first nationally representative study that focuses specifically on Māori assessments of housing quality. It does so using data from the Māori Social Survey Te Kupenga.
Type of thesis
Ministry of Social Development
© 2018 The Authors. This research report has been published online by the Social Wellbeing Agency, in The Hub https://thehub.swa.govt.nz. Used with permission.