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Mate Korona (COVID) Update
- Māori and Pasifika health providers particularly in Auckland – such as Te Whānau o Waipareira Trust – are reportedly continuing to put in long hours rolling out the COVID vaccination. (Waipareira alone reports vaccinating 3,000 tangata daily, as well as undertaking circa 800 COVID tests). This week the Government’s vaccination vans also roll out to harder to reach communities, including in South Auckland.
- However, last week efforts to increase Māori vaccination rates (to match other populations) have been somewhat undermined by ACT leader, David Seymour (Ngāpuhi), who publicly released a code allowing Māori and Pasifika to receive a vaccine at Whānau Ora locations without needing to book ahead. Mr Seymour’s actions have been widely condemned as politicking, and undermining a best practice public health response. His timing was particularly poor too, as current Māori COVID case numbers, at circa 100, are now higher than Pākehā, which are circa 80.
- Māori Development Minister, Willie Jackson, also announced last week that $5 million was being reprioritised to provide relief to vulnerable whānau who are being severely impacted upon by COVID constraints. We know this is needed, as indicative data released from the Ministry of Social Development this week shows a large spike last month in Māori whānau seeking special needs food grants – over 71,000 Government grants to Māori in August, up by over 19,000 (38%) from the month before. (By comparison NZ European food grants totalled 38,000.) Further, many Māori moved onto the job seeker benefit in the last month, an increase of circa 1,400 tangata Māori – bringing the total number up to 48,000. This reflects weaker workforce attachment – i.e. causal and part-time workers who have unconfirmed weekly hours, which means employers do not need to use the wage subsidy scheme, they can simply advise people there is no work to do and not pay them. Subscribers will know our analyses indicates higher formal qualifications are needed across the Māori population to address this systemic inequality.
- This week an Auckland couple (amongst other people) allegedly broke lockdown orders and left Auckland, in this case to holiday in Wanaka. They are now named, but at first received interim name suppression. Radio New Zealand followed this up with some strong investigative journalism identifying that the non-Māori receive name suppression three times more often than Māori. For details on their work go here: Pākehā granted name suppression three times as often as Māori | RNZ News
- Pania Gray (Ngāpuhi) has been appointed as the Deputy Chair of the New Zealand Qualifications Authority.
- Hīkina Whakatutuki – otherwise known as The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has released a series of Reo Māori clips within its ‘Digital boost’ business support initiative. (Digital boost is a series of short video clips targeted at business owners to improve their digital skills, for example ‘tips for a good website’ or mailing list, etc.) Digital Boost Introduction (business.govt.nz)
- Hīkina Whakatutuki has also released guidance materials inviting new applications for Te Pūnaha Hihiko: Vision Mātauranga Capability Fund. By way of background, circa $2 million (in total) is available for new projects this year which:
- “strengthen capability, capacity, skills and networks between Māori and the science and innovation system, and/or
- increase understanding of how research can contribute to the aspirations of Māori organisations and deliver benefit for New Zealand.” Te Pūnaha Hihiko: Vision Mātauranga Capability Fund 2022 Investment (mbie.govt.nz)
- Judge Layne Harvey, of the Māori Land Court, has found that former trustees of the Ngāti Te Whiti Whenua Tōpū Trust are not liable for the theft of beneficiary funds by the trust’s former Chief Executive, Shaun Keenan. Mr Keenan stole circa half a million dollars from the Trust and was jailed for that offending (he is now on parole). The Court case was to determine whether the former trustees had failed in their duties to oversee the Trust, and whether that meant they were liable to repay the funds themselves. Judge Harvey found the trustees had not been ‘terminally incompetent’ and that they had not been part of the fraud. However he is still considering the matter as to whether their trustee fees ought to be returned to the Trust. This is a sad story all around, however there is a message within it for all trustees of Māori entities that duties, including financial stewardship, must be undertaken diligently.
- Last week a Hawkes Bay Family Court Judge, Peter Callinicos, dismissed an application from Oranga Tamariki to remove a Māori girl from her non-Māori foster parents (of circa three years) and rehome her with a Māori whānau (in another region). The Judge’s decision is not supported by Ngahiwi Tomoana, Chair of Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated, who has indicated there are iwi members available to care for the child. However, it is also reported that during the prior three years the iwi allegedly did not assist with whakapapa requests, and had previously advised the non-Māori foster parents the child was not of Kahungunu descent. In our view the principle that Mr Tomoana points towards – Māori tamariki being cared for by Māori (and within iwi and region) – reads as best practice for foster placements – where that is possible, assuming all other criteria are also upheld. Yet in this case three years has gone by, and the publicly available information suggests the child is now happy and bonded with the foster family, and that the family is seeking to get appropriate external support for the girl’s cultural needs, given they are not Māori. So although the general principle Mr Tomoana points towards makes sense, in our view considering each child’s unique circumstances must always be central to judicial decisions, as it has been in this case. Further, we also note there are a high number of Māori children that need foster care (a few thousand each year), but a lower proportion of Māori homes available. There are a number of reasons for this, including very practical matters, like the fact that most Māori tamariki grow up in rentals (and therefore have to move from time to time), given lower Māori homeownership rates. I.e. fewer Māori households are well positioned to take on foster children, given other criteria important to Oranga Tamariki (such as bedroom availability). We consider until Māori homeownership rates rise, it is likely some Māori children need foster care placements with non-Māori families, and therefore perhaps iwi groups interested in the sector may wish to focus on what type of support initiatives they can provide in those contexts.
 Data as at Thursday 16/9/21. Note Pasifika case numbers are much higher, at circa 700.
 This data is from the monthly update on beneficiary statistics. It is not a complete set of data, and we will provide a fuller review once more data is available at the end of the quarter.
 This information is as the case is reported in mainstream media outlets. We recommend subscribers refer to Stuff.co.nz for for details given their journalism on this matter.
Oranga Tamariki Report on Agencies working together in Whānau Ora
- Last week Oranga Tamariki uploaded onto its website a report from an independent consultancy regarding ‘lessons learned’ in the administration of a family violence prevention programme. The report, Ngā Timi Whetū, focuses on how well entities like Te Puni Kōkiri, Oranga Tamariki and the Accident Compensation Corporation work, within a Whānau Ora context. After interviewing stakeholders, the report finds while the public sector is ‘maturing’ in this space, there is still more room for collective and joined up actions, supported at the highest Ministerial levels. Qualitative Process Evaluation of Mokopuna Ora (orangatamariki.govt.nz)
- Justice Christian Whata has been appointed to Te Aka Matua o te Ture |The Law Commission for a one-year term. Justice Whata will lead the Commission’s work regarding tikanga Māori and state law.
- Yesterday the Controller and Auditor-General, John Ryan, published his reply to the leader of the opposition, Judith Collins, who had requested that his office investigate public funds being allocated to the Kahukura Rehabilitation Programme. (By way of background: this is a drug use reduction programme in the Hawkes Bay being run by a company with a Director who is a member of the Mongrel Mob. Funding is derived from the proceeds of crime, and the National Party has expressed concern about the Mongrel Mob association with this programme.) Mr Ryan advises he does not review the merits of funding policy decisions, or review the financial affairs of private organisations. However, he has considered the contracting arrangements used on this occasion, and finds accountability and transparency expectations are being met, and therefore advises that he does not intend to inquiry further into the matter.
- In a related theme, Mr Ryan also received a separate letter of concern from National Party MP, Simeon Brown, around the Chief Human Rights Commissioner, Meng Foon, providing a $200 koha to the Waikato Mongrel Mob when he attended an event with the gang. Mr Ryan advises the payment appears consistent with policy guidance and therefore that he does not intend to inquire further into the matter.
Last week’s news edition of Pānui focused primarily on COVID-19 health matters. By way of update:
- As of yesterday, there were 770 cases of active COVID-19 in Aotearoa, 47 of these are tangata Māori (6% of cases, below population proportions). The Pasifika community continues to be severely impacted upon (68% of current cases).
- Ngāti Porou hapū on the East Coast have established community roadside checkpoints. The Minister for Emergency Management, Kris Faafoi, had earlier rejected a request from 32 Ngāti Porou marae to declare a regional state of emergency and implement Police checkpoints.
- Te Taitokerau has now been returned to COVID-19 alert level 3.
This edition of Pānui reviews recently released data from Statistics New Zealand and also considers economic and employment matters relating to Matakaoa / COVID.
- Aotearoa New Zealand remains at Government alert level 4. Meetings between Crown Ministers and iwi leaders are occurring to ensure support is provided to vulnerable communities and whānau.
- As at Thursday 26th August, there were 277 cases of COVID-19 in the community, including six Māori cases. However it is the Samoan community that is being impacted upon severely; comprising circa half of all current community cases.
- Māori rates of vaccination remain lower than all other groups, and as last reported remains below 30%: (293 people per 1,000, compared with 447 per 1,000 for the total adult population). Some, but not all, of this disparity relates to the younger median age of Māori adults which means fewer Māori are eligible for early vaccination cycles. However, even taking that into account, initial age-based data appears to indicate lower Māori vaccination rates.
- Iwi / Māori leaders in Te Tai Tokerau have expressed significant frustration at Auckland residents travelling into Northland during (or just prior to) alert level 4. Given they were not permitted to establish community-based checkpoint stations they consider the Police have been too slow to check traffic and turn people away from the region. North Island East Coast iwi groups have also requested Police checkpoints for their communities, with some seeking a formal declaration of ‘regional emergency’.
- Due to the current community outbreak of COVID-19 the public hearings for the Royal Commission into Abuse in Care – Māori investigation – has been postponed. The hearings were going to be held in Tāmaki Makaurau from 6 September, a new date is yet to be rescheduled.
- Last week Statistics New Zealand released labour market income statistics for the quarter ending 30 June 2021. This data shows that the median weekly income from wages and salary have increased to $1,093 per week: this is an increase of $31 since 2020. We advise the Māori median wage increased by $16 to $1,020. This gap relates to differences in workplace qualification levels, Pānui 27/2021 refers.
- Earlier this month the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) published Labour Market Statistics Snapshot for the year to June 2021. This publication is a two-page infographic which brings together a range of pre-published data on employment and income. However, Māori specific data within this infographic is limited, with key data such as numbers of Māori unemployed, being left out. The summary report does note as at 30 June 2021:
- labour market outcomes for Māori improved, with 378,100 employed (an increase of 13,500 from the June 2020 quarter); and
- 76,000 working aged Māori are underutilised in the workforce (an increase of 2,500 from the June 2020 quarter).
- Earlier this month results for the Mana Ahuriri Trust (long delayed) elections were published. Mana Ahuriri Trust is the post settlement entity for a collective of seven Ahuriri (Napier) iwi / hapū. These elections were required to progress Te Tiriti settlement work with the Crown. The trust is currently subject to an independent review which was ordered by the Maori Land Court, at the request of some of its beneficiaries. The review is investigating financial transactions and business contracts which had consumed the large majority of the trust’s funds, and involved some trustees gaining significant consulting fees for services.
- Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa, Ngāi Taiwhakāea, and Ōpihi Whanaungakore trustees have lodged an appeal in the High Court, against the Whakatāne District Council decision to grant resource consent to development company MMS GP Limited. The consent includes the development of 240 residential houses and a retirement village on land considered by to be an ancient burial site. (An appeal was initially heard by the Environment Court, however, it was determined that the appeal was outside the Court’s jurisdiction.)
- Earlier this month Tongariro Prison was named the overall winner of the 2021 Hōkai Rangi Whakataetae Kapa Haka.
- On Tuesday the second reading of the Māori Commercial Aquaculture Claims Settlement Amendment Bill was completed in Parliament. The purpose of this Bill is to improve the allocation and transfer process to better enable the allocation and transfer of aquaculture settlement assets to iwi. https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_99894/maori-commercial-aquaculture-claims-settlement-amendment
- This week a research company has released a report looking at the potential underfunding of Māori Primary Health Organisations (PHOs). The genesis for this is a Waitangi Tribunal recommendation within the Hauora Inquiry Report that consideration be given to this topic (Pānui 24/2019 outlines this inquiry). The research company involved gives an indicative estimate -based on a few assumptions around service uptake and life/death costs – that the investment needed per annum for Māori PHOs is circa $1 billion, and the cost of not making this investment might be circa $5 billion per year. These are of course indicative figures, but they give the Waitangi Tribunal claimants a starting point for their discussions with the Government as to what is needed. This is a technical report which we consider likely adds a useful contribution to these negotiations, although we suspect Government analysts may well apply other methods to derive different figures. Regardless, it is the next step in a process of better empowering Māori organisations to facilitate stronger wellness outcomes for Māori. https://srgexpert.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Methodology-for-Estimating-the-Underfunding-of-Maori-Primary-Health-Care.pdf
- The Ministry of Health has released a short report on the funding it gave to Māori health providers from 2015 to 2019. Amongst other items it shows in the year to 30 June 2020, $341 million was allocated to these providers, just less than 2% of health funds. maori_provider_funding_report_v3.pdf
- This week National Party Member of Parliament, Penny Simmonds, has sought to defend the right of some University of Auckland academics to publish a tabloid article claiming that indigenous knowledge / mātauranga Māori is not science on the basis of their right to academic freedom. She considers the response to the article by some to be ‘veiled censorship’. We published our views on this matter last week (Pānui 25/2021 refers): in essence we agree academic freedom is important for democracy, but it links to academic thinking and in turn academic processes for setting out such thoughts (for example publishing ideas, however controversial in peer-reviewed academic journals). But publishing personal views in tabloids does not, in our view, come close to meeting any known academic standards.
- Another Member of Parliament from the National Party, Stuart Smith, has also called for a referendum on whether Aotearoa should be formally integrated as part of the legally gazetted name of New Zealand. His leader, Judith Collins, agrees with this idea. Other parties in Parliament disagree, with the Māori Party saying it is ‘absurd’, and would only favour the majority. (Absurd because in its view it already is the name of the country, and always has been, plus they noted there was no vote on the name ‘New Zealand’ in the 1800s).
- The above two debates indicate to us that perceptions that the current Government is pandering too much to Māori, allegedly at the expense of others, is likely to be a continuing area of political debate this term (note Parliament reopened this week). In May we outlined this matter further, in reference to the He Puapua draft strategy that the National Party objects too and their ‘have the debate’ campaign (Pānui 14/2021 refers). We also note the housing guidelines released from the Human Rights Commission this week (see comments above and review below), might also be considered too heavily orientated towards the infusion of Te Tiriti and United Nations statements. For that reason some political sceptics might consider that is the reason Prime Minister Ardern has already distanced the Government from the guidelines and the upcoming inquiry as to whether they are being upheld. Following on allegations of racism (against Māori) at Te Arawhiti / Office for Māori Crown Relations, the responsible Minister, Kelvin Davis, has indicated the matter will be looked into (Pānui 25/2021 refers.)
The leading Māori policy item to note this week is the apology from the Government to Pasifika communities for immigration ‘dawn raids’ in the 1970s. We consider the statement of apology is worth reading in full (its only a few pages).
Statement of Apology from the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Right Honorable Jacinda Arden, 1 August 2021
“Tēnā koutou katoa, Kia orana kotou katoatoa, Fakaalofa lahi atu ki mutolu oti, Tālofa nī, Mālō nī koutou, Ni sa bula vinaka, Fakatalofa atu, Noa’ia ‘e mauri, Kam na mauri, Malo e lelei, Sioto’ofa, Mālō lava le lagi e mamā ma le soifua maua, Oue tulou, tulou atu, tulouna lava
Tēnei te mihi māhana ki a koutou katoa – ngā uri o te Moana Nui a Kiwa, kua rauika nei i raro i te kaupapa whakahirahira o te wā.
(Translation – Warm greetings to you all – the descendants of the Pacific, who have assembled here at this time for this very important occasion.)
Tapu mo e Ta’ehāmai Mo e ngaahi tu’unga ‘oku fa’a fakatapua. Kau kole ke mou tali ‘a e kole fakamolemole teu fai.
(Translation: In obeisance to the Unseen (God) and in respect of all the positions/strata/hierarchical ranks that are normally acknowledged. I ask that you accept the apology that I will give).
Ou te tula’i atu fua o a’u o ‘Ae. E ui la ua masa’a le ipu vai, ma ua agasala ma agaleaga le Malo i tagata Pasefika Ma e lē mafai foi e timuga ona faamagalo le o’ona o le sami. Ae avea ia lo tatou gafa fa’aleagaga e māgalo ai se leo fa’atauva’a.
(Translation: I stand before you as a representative of those who did you harm. Although spilt water cannot be gathered again. And while no amount of rain can remove the bitter salt from the ocean waters, I ask you to let our spiritual connectedness soften your pain, and allow forgiveness to flow on this day).
Welcome to you all who have come here today for this important occasion. I stand before you as a symbol of the Crown that wronged you nearly 50 years ago. Today is a day of solemn reflection and over the past weeks, I have particularly reflected on the story of Pacific peoples in New Zealand.
This is a lengthy story that continues to evolve. One part of this bigger story is the migration from the Pacific to Aotearoa in the 1950s and how this has shaped who we are today as a nation made up of many rich and diverse cultures.
We have experienced the Pacific Aotearoa journey shift from one of new settlement to the present-day Pacific diaspora in New Zealand, where Pacific peoples are an integral part of Aotearoa’s cultural and social fabric and are active contributors to our economic success.
However, in the multiple chapters of Pacific peoples’ story in New Zealand, the chapter of the Dawn Raids stands out as one that continues to cast a long shadow. During the economic boom of the 1950s, New Zealand encouraged significant migration from the Pacific region to fill labour shortages in the manufacturing and primary production sector.
It was a time of economic prosperity and many migrated from the Pacific to New Zealand as a result. However, at the downturn of the economy in the early 1970s, parts of our society began to see migrants as jeopardising their financial security and quality of life. The migrants who became the focal point and scapegoat for these fears were largely Pacific peoples, and when Police and Immigration enforced immigration laws around overstaying, not everyone was targeted.
Instead, Police and Immigration officials overwhelmingly conducted raids on the homes of Pacific families. Officials, often accompanied by dogs, undertook late night and early morning (dawn) raids of homes.
Residents in those homes were woken abruptly, physically removed from their beds and forced into Police vans to be taken for questioning. Some were hauled to the police station to appear in court the next day barefoot, in pyjamas or in clothes loaned to them in the holding cells; others were wrongfully detained.
During what became known as the Dawn Raids period, Police also conducted random stops and checks which required any person, on request, to produce their passport or permit if there was good cause to suspect an immigration-related offence, like overstaying a permit.
This lawful provision was exploited to racially profile those who were suspected as being overstayers, with Pacific peoples, Māori, and other people of colour randomly stopped in the street, at churches and schools, and other public places.
I understand that, at the time, public statements were made that a passport should be carried by those who looked like and spoke like they were not born in New Zealand. Many groups, such as the Citizens Association for Racial Equality, Ngā Tamatoa, Amnesty Aroha, and the Federation of Labour, took to the streets in protest of these actions.
A prominent youth group was the Polynesian Panthers, a social justice movement that was founded in inner-city Auckland in June 1971. This movement operated to bring awareness to the treatment of Pacific peoples and to protest Crown actions and immigration policies.
These protests, coupled with the increasingly negative public reaction, led to the end of the Dawn Raids in 1976. When we look back, it is now very clear that the immigration laws of the time were enforced in a discriminatory manner and that Pacific peoples were specifically targeted and racially profiled when these activities were carried out.
The statistics are undeniable. There were no reported raids on any homes of people who were not Pacific; no raids or random stops were exacted towards European people. Following an inquiry report of the then Race Relations Conciliator, Walter Hirsh, in 1986, it was found that while Pacific peoples comprised roughly a third of overstayers, they represented 86 percent of all prosecutions.
During the same period, overstayers from the United States and Great Britain, who, together, also comprised roughly a third of overstayers, made up only 5 percent of prosecutions.
While these events took place almost 50 years ago, the legacy of the Dawn Raids era lives on today in Pacific communities. It remains vividly etched in the memory of those who were directly impacted; it lives on in the disruption of trust and faith in authorities, and it lives on in the unresolved grievances of Pacific communities that these events happened and that to this day they have gone unaddressed.
Today, I stand on behalf of the New Zealand Government to offer a formal and unreserved apology to Pacific communities for the discriminatory implementation of the immigration laws of the 1970s that led to the events of the Dawn Raids.
The Government expresses its sorrow, remorse, and regret that the Dawn Raids and random police checks occurred and that these actions were ever considered appropriate. Our Government conveys to the future generations of Aotearoa that the past actions of the Crown were wrong, and that the treatment of your ancestors was wrong. We convey to you our deepest and sincerest apology.
We also apologise for the impact that these events have had on other peoples, such as Māori and other ethnic communities, who were unfairly targeted and impacted by the random Police checks of the time. We acknowledge the distress and hurt that these experiences would have caused.
As a nation, we expect everyone in New Zealand to be treated with dignity and respect and we expect that all individuals are guaranteed their rights without distinction of any kind. Unfortunately, these expectations were not met in this case and inequities that stem from direct and indirect discrimination continue to exist.
The Government is committed to eliminating racism in all its forms in Aotearoa New Zealand and affording everyone the right to be treated humanely and with respect for their dignity. I want to emphasise that under our current immigration compliance regime, the Government no longer prioritises compliance activity and deportation on the basis of ethnicity or nationality, but instead seeks to address potential risks to the New Zealand community and the integrity of the immigration system.
Pacific context – reconciliation
As a government we want to honour Pacific ways of seeking reconciliation. We understand that Pacific practices and protocols vary, but the common thread that underpins these practices is the expectation of reconciliation that is meaningful, genuine and that restores the balance from past wrongs.
We want our apology to be in a manner that has meaning to Pacific peoples. I also hope that our presence and apology here today helps weave together our connections.
Gestures to accompany the apology
But I understand that in many cultures, including in Pacific cultures, words alone are not sufficient to convey an apology and it is appropriate to include tangible gestures of goodwill and reconciliation.
We acknowledge the enduring hurt that has been caused to those who were directly affected by the Dawn Raids, as well as the lasting impact these events have had on subsequent generations. I have heard that, for many people, the hurt was so deep that nearly 50 years later it’s a struggle to talk about. We recognise that no gestures can mend this hurt. However, we hope that the gestures I am about to outline are accepted as a way of expressing our deepest sorrow whilst recognising the wrongs of the past, to pave a new dawn, and a new beginning for the Pacific peoples of New Zealand.
As a government, we commit to the following gestures of goodwill and reconciliation for our Pacific communities: We will support the development of an historical account of the Dawn Raids which can be used for education purposes. As part of this, the community will have the opportunity to come forward and share their experiences. May the process of gathering an official historic account from written records and oral history provide an opportunity for Pacific peoples to begin a new journey of reconciliation and healing that will help restore mana. We will ensure resources are available to schools and kura who choose to teach the history of the Dawn Raids, which would include histories of those directly affected. May this opportunity help future generations gain knowledge and understanding that will help them ensure the mistakes of the past are not ever repeated again.
We will provide $2.1 million in education scholarships and fellowships to Pacific communities in New Zealand. May this gesture provide opportunities for the pursuit of tertiary education on subjects that will build confidence and pride in Pacific peoples of Aotearoa New Zealand. And we will provide $1 million in Manaaki New Zealand Short Term Training Scholarships for young leaders from Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Fiji. May these opportunities grow Pacific leadership that is confident and proud.
Almost 50 years on from the Dawn Raids, the Pacific story continues to shift. This chapter sees a Pacific Aotearoa that is self-assured, thriving, prosperous and resilient.
We hope that today has brought some much-needed closure and healing for our Pacific communities and that it will enable us to keep growing together as a community and as a nation.
Once again my deepest acknowledgements and respects to all those who were directly affected by the harms caused during the Dawn Raids, including those who continue to suffer and carry the scars.
My acknowledgements and gratitude to the many individuals and organisations who stood up for justice, called out the Dawn Raids for what they were, supported Pacific peoples throughout, and championed the need for an apology.
It is my sincere hope that this apology will go some way in helping the Pacific youth of today know, with certainty, that they have every right to hold their head up high, and feel confident and proud of their Pacific heritage, and in particular the sacrifices their parents and grandparents have made for Aotearoa New Zealand.
May my words today be received in the Spirit of Humility that I convey them.
Ofa atu. Alofa atu.
No reira, Tena Koutou. Tena Koutou. Tena Koutou Katoa.
Kia kaha. Fa’afetai. Malo ‘aupito. Metaki maata. Fakaue!”
Commentary on the Apology and Related Matters
While Pānui focuses on Māori policy matters there are of course strong historic and current interconnects between Māori and wider Pasifika. Presently circa 36,000 Māori (5%) also identify as belonging to a Pasifika ethnic group, and many of the social-economic disparities presenting for Māori, which we advise on regularly, also present for Pasifika peoples in Aotearoa. By way of example, this week we have provided a summary of the latest employment / unemployment data released on Wednesday by Statistics New Zealand. Our analysis shows the Māori unemployment rate is 7.8% – which is exactly the same as the Pasifika rate of unemployment, but yet more than double the European NZ rate of 3.1%. The apology then is important in that it acknowledges the harm caused to Pasifika communities and how that lingers. In the Prime Minister’s words the past, “remains vividly etched in the memory of those who were directly impacted; it lives on in the disruption of trust and faith in authorities, and it lives on in the unresolved grievances of Pacific communities…”.
Overall, the apology reads as sincere, albeit it in a carefully worded manner, i.e. “immigration laws of the time were enforced in a discriminatory manner”, rather than something stronger, say for example, ‘immigration law was prejudicial against Pasifika peoples and second language English speakers, and that harmful ethos was also carried over to law enforcement operations in a harsh and cruel manner’. We also note the funding attached is low, circa $3 million, and much like Te Tiriti settlements, it reads as somewhat pre-determined by the Crown. Those aspects aside, there is now formal, on the record, recognition of the past harm caused – including to some Māori at the time – and most importantly in our view, a commitment to ensure this history is properly understood and acknowledged, including within school curriculum materials.
There is of course more to do to support Pasifika communities in Aotearoa. For example, we advise seasonal migrant Pasifika workers in Aotearoa have long been very lowly paid, and it was only at the end of 2020, following COVID travel restrictions, that the Government finally establish a policy that these workers must receive at least $22.10 per hour, and must be paid for a minimum of 30 hours per week. (I.e. bringing people into Aotearoa to do jobs like fruit picking, and then not paying them due to adverse weather or smaller than expected harvesting requirements, has hopefully come to an end.) Further, positively on Monday the Government also announced that seasonal workers from Tonga, Samoa and Vanuatu can now also enter the country without going to managed isolation, given low COVID-19 cases in those countries. Hopefully the apology then also leads to other supportive policy changes in pressing areas, such as housing and health.
 Estimate from Census 2018.
 Note in this paragraph we are referring to ‘Recognised Seasonal Employers (RSE) workers’. Pre COVID-19 there were circa 14,000 of these workers in New Zealand during fruit and vegatable harvest times, although now the number is estimated at circa 4,000. There are other countries in the scheme, like Fiji, but the exemption from quarantine only applies to these three countries at present.
Last Friday a judgement by Justice Gwyn (Wellington High Court) confirmed the rights of Ngāti Tūwharetoa to licence and charge for commercial recreational activities based on Taupō moana (lake Taupō). By way of background, the Ngāti Tūwharetoa ownership of the lakebed and ‘air space above it’ was part of the 2007 settlement between the Crown and the iwi, but a grouping wanted to test to see if this meant the iwi could charge for activities. Justice Gwyn concludes; “it is the Trust Board, and not the Management Board, that has the power and responsibility to approve (and charge for) all commercial activities on Taupō Waters, including commercial recreational activities”.
The Associate Minister of Education (Māori Education), Kelvin Davis, has launched a research report on Māori-medium education, entitled, ‘Te Kura Huanui: The treasures of successful pathways’. This research was prepared by the Education Review Office, in partnership with Te Kōhanga Reo, Te Runanga Nui o Ngā Kura Kaupapa Māori, Ngā Kura ā Iwi and others. The report identifies five common success factors for Māori medium education:
- Mana Māori Motuhake: Being Māori
- Tikanga Māori
- Whanaungatanga: Relationships and connectedness
- Ako: Teaching and Learning
- Kanohi Whakakite: Leaders as visionaries
Te Kura Huanui: The treasures of successful pathways | Education Review Office (ero.govt.nz)
The ANZ bank released a succinct research report on the impact of Māori employment, entitled ‘NZ Insight: Māori Employment During COVID’. The report identified that Māori unemployment levels are now back to pre-COVID-19 levels. (Note this is still high, at 8.4% unemployment, compared to the New Zealand overall rate of 4.7%.) The negligible impacts of COVID-19 on Māori employment levels are said to be due to high Māori employment in sectors which have fared well during the pandemic, namely construction, manufacturing, and retail. We will review this work further once Statistics NZ releases the unemployment data for the quarter to 30 June, in the coming weeks.