Topics: Rereātea - Midday News, Welfare

$1.4mil funded to achieve equity for Māori in Ngāi Tahu

By Jessica Tyson
  • South Island

In a bid to achieve equity for all Māori in the Ngāi Tahu region, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and the Peter McKenzie Project have together funded $1.4mil towards a new initiative.

It will be led by Tokona Te Raki, a social innovation hub which provides pathways to create equity among Māori in education, employment and income.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Chief Executive Officer Arihia Bennett says, “The statistics relating to Māori and inequality will continue to grow as our Māori population grows if we do not turn outcomes around.”

In total, Māori earn $2.6bil per year less than they would if they earned the average income for their age. 

This income gap will increase to $4.3bil per year by 2040 if business as usual continues.

"Our goal is to achieve equity in education, employment and income for all Māori in our takiwā by 2040.  We know these are key drivers of whānau empowerment, security and prosperity, and, in transforming outcomes for tamariki.”

The grant is the largest amount ever funded in the history of the J R McKenzie Trust, a philanthropic family trust that has been granting funds to create a better New Zealand for almost 80 years.

The trust has $15mil to spend over the next 20 years to contribute to reducing child and family poverty in New Zealand.

Peter McKenzie Project Director Iain Hines believes the solution lies in creating long-term, systemic change.

"Poverty and hardship are complex.  We need to take into account the contributing personal circumstances and the systems that can lock people into poverty.  The Peter McKenzie Project wants to encourage a different way of thinking."

Bennett says, "This is an incredibly exciting opportunity for Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu to be partnering with the Peter McKenzie Project, and to have received this very generous funding contribution alongside our own commitment.”

The statistics:

  • In total, Māori earn $2.6bil per year less than they would if they earned the average income for their age.  This income gap will increase to $4.3bil per year by 2040 if business as usual continues.
  • 43 percent of Māori are employed in occupations that are at high risk of shrinking significantly in the next few years, such as office work, manufacturing and production.
  • If the income gap was closed, Māori aged between 40 and 44 would receive an additional $200 per week