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The Māori precariat: A silhouette

Recent financial crises and a host of punitive labour and welfare reforms have intensified socio-economic divisions across advanced nations. In Aotearoa New Zealand, the indigenous Maori peoples are subject to systemic labour market disadvantages, and are thus more likely to be affected by increased inequalities in times of economic downturn. Despite the legacies of systematic economic exclusion and discrimination in the economy, the majority of Maori demonstrate a resounding level of social resilience in the face of this hostile context. Even so, there is evidence to suggest that an unacceptable number of Maori still struggle to overcome these challenges. For instance, 13.0 per cent of Maori are in temporary work compared to 8.2 per cent of Pakeha,1 and 12.4 per cent of Maori are experiencing unemployment against 4.4 per cent. of Pakeha.2 These trends contribute to a range of socio-economic challenges, to which mainstream and Maori service providers are struggling to respond. In this chapter, we develop a demographic silhouette to seek an understanding of socio-economically marginalised - or 'precariat' - Maori. Although we are wary of portraying Maori in an unduly negative light, we also submit that an appreciation of the extent of the issues faced by this group is necessary if our analysis is to be useful in the development of an effective response. We begin by defining the precariat. Using data obtained from Statistics New Zealand's Te Kupenga survey of Maori wellbeing, we then outline the prevalence and composition of the Maori precariat in Aotearoa New Zealand. Overall, we find that the Maori precariat comprises a substantial portion of the Maori population, particularly among females, younger age groups, and those with low or no qualifications. They are predominantly located-in regions that have high levels of seasonal employment, and in more deprived areas. We also find the value attached to Maori culture and experiences of stigma for this group are, for the most part, similar to those among the Maori non-precariat.
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Type of thesis
Stubbs, T., Cochrane, W., Uerata, L., Hodgetts, D., & Rua, M. (2017). The Māori precariat: A silhouette. In S. Groot, C. Van Ommen, B. Masters-Awatere, & N. Tassell-Matamua (Eds.), Precarity: Uncertain, Insecure and Unequal Lives in Aotearoa New Zealand (pp. 113–122). Auckland, New Zealand: Massey University Press.
Massey University Press
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