Māori Wellbeing | The Salvation Army

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Māori Wellbeing

NOTE: This presentation is also available in Te Reo Māori. 

He Ara Waiora wellbeing framework

The Salvation Army has long held social transformation at the heart of its mission. We work with those at the very margins of society, including those experiencing homelessness, those with addictions, those who suffer from food scarcity and poverty, and those who require support in the prison and justice system.

Social transformation is about reducing the unfairness and inequities that are behind these social problems. Many Māori are doing well—prospering financially, well connected to their iwi, hapū and whānau, and actively engaged as Māori in their communities, but there are also too many who are struggling.

Māori make up around 17 percent of the total population, but tāngata whaiora Māori (people seeking health and wellbeing support) made up 43 percent of the 150,000 people who accessed Salvation Army services in 2022. This is one way inequity shows itself.

In working with Māori clients, patterns of poverty, family breakdown, crime, addiction and homelessness that extend over generations emerge. We have come to understand these outcomes as consequences of colonisation. The traumas of such loss of land and identity are passed through generations.

Māori, above all else, wish to be considered with the full mana of their whakapapa and identity—this goes beyond the term ‘ethnicity’. In this report on Māori wellbeing and the state of our nation, we bring together national statistics affecting Māori under four domains of He Ara Wairoa wellbeing framework.

We do so with humility and in the hope we all continue the conversation about social transformation, which includes both the progress that has been made and the broader question of persistent social inequities.

At the start of 2023, Māori are seeing improvements in some areas, but overall equity of outcomes between Māori and non-Māori remains a distant goal. Most of the measures in this section showed improvement or at least no significant change in outcomes. For example, the proportion of Māori who report being able to speak more than a few words and phrases in te reo Māori has been increasing.

But only a few measures showed increasing equity in outcomes between Māori and non-Māori. An example of equity close to being achieved is the infant mortality rate for Māori that has reduced sharply and now is close to parity with the non-Māori rate. The transformation in the youth justice system also continues to reduce the large gap between offending rates for rangatahi—Māori and non-Māori.

On the other hand, inequalities in some outcomes grew worse. Alcohol consumption is at hazardous levels for one third of Māori. This has not changed in the past five years and the rate is more than twice the non-Māori rate which has fallen slightly over the same period.

Whānau wellbeing is crucial to Māori wellbeing, but more Māori reported that their whānau is doing badly or not as well as five years ago, and an increasing proportion of Māori students are leaving school without any NCEA qualification.

In the midst of the cost of living pressures and continuing pandemic impacts, these examples highlight the extent of the task ahead to shift our nation to a place of genuine equity.

Sections: Home | Introduction | Children & Youth | Work and Incomes | Housing | Crime and Punishment | Social Hazards | Māori Wellbeing 

Data: Interactive Dashboard

Download State of the Nation: Full report | Summary document