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Maori anticipate bright future

Maori believe their future is bright, despite their relatively low socio-economic status.

A study underway at Massey University suggests that Maori are generally positive about their future, despite the evidence of social and economic problems and difficulties.

Research programme manager, Eljon Fitzgerald said one example is the health sector. “Although many of those surveyed were in poor or even very poor health there was nonetheless a sense of optimism and a determination to take control over their own health.”

“Forecasts have Maori making up 20 per cent of the population by 2031. As New Zealand looks towards the future and formulates the plans and policies that will shape it, the needs and aspirations of Maori must be integrated into the decisions that are made.”

The research programme looks at how Maori live, their aspirations and the changes that have occurred in Maori households in the past six years.

The study, an investment of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, has been exploring cultural, social and economic indicators which are relevant to Maori advancement. Factors relating to health, education, housing, employment, income and lifestyles are being analysed and correlated to help form effective policy for Maori.

“If policies addressing Maori needs and aspirations are to be useful, reliable information based on actual experience is essential,” said Mr Fitzgerald.

“Iwi and urban Maori Service providers, a range of Maori organisations, local marae, kohanga reo, kura kaupapa Maori and a number of government agencies are using our research to enhance and further their own operations.

“It is encouraging to know that the research is fulfilling its original aims of informing policy formulation for Maori development and advancement. Key exchanges are occurring with the Ministries of, Social Policy, Maori Development, Health, Education and with Treasury and Statistics New Zealand.”

The research has also enabled the training of young Maori researchers, some of whom have gone on to successfully undertake independent research for their representative groups.

“This is a very positive spin-off from the project. We take heart in the fact that we are helping to grow Maori research capability in an environment where capacity building has been identified as a critical component of Maori development,” said Mr Fitzgerald.

For further information: Eljon Fitzgerald, Tel 06 3506267 , { HYPERLINK }
Madeleine Setchell 04 498 7806, Mobile 025 40 60 40, { HYPERLINK }

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