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The economic past, present and future for Māori

Author and well-known economist Brian Easton says Heke Tangata — the companion to the recently published Urban Māori: The Second Great Migration — is a deep dive into how far Māori have NOT come economically and socially since the Second World War.

Easton, who has written extensively on New Zealand’s economy, history and society, said he was grateful when approached by Waipareira CEO John Tamihere to write this book.

“Over the years I have done a lot of work on Māori at the invitation of Māori. I have also done a lot of work on Māori independently of any invitation, which perforce had to be buried in the main narrative. When John asked me to bring it all together, I was thrilled. I couldn’t believe my luck.”

Heke Tangata can be broadly translated as ‘migration of the people’. In the book Easton tracks the major relocations Māori have made into the cities and market economy since 1945.

While Urban Māori: The Second Great Migration covered the post-war Māori experience, Heke Tangata gives the statistical basis covering criminal justice, demography, education, employment, health, housing, incomes and wealth.

Easton concludes: “Māori may have successfully navigated the second great migration, but they are a generation behind the Pakeha population in economic terms. I hope readers will admire the enormous achievement of the Māori transition in the post-war era. The big takeaway may be that the next 50 years will be another great challenge for Māoridom.”

John Tamihere, who commissioned both Urban Māori: The Second Great Migration, and Heke Tangata, said it was vital the voices and economic struggles of families be told in both cultural and economic terms.

“Māori, as with all indigenous populations around the world are disproportionately represented and seemingly locked in at the bottom of every socioeconomic indicator. Brian’s work, first documented in the report ‘Māori Meets the Market’ and now published as Heke Tangata, goes a long way in explaining the economic context of Māori post the Second World War.”

Heke Tangata was launched at Parliament by Employment and Associate Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson on Tuesday 15 May 2018.

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