Tuesday December 19, 2017   Last updated 07:36AM
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Maori views on money sought

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University of Auckland researchers have posted 100,000 questionnaires posted to people who indicated Maori descent on the electoral roll in an effort to discover how Maori identity shapes financial choices.

Carla Houkamau, who is running the Maori Identity and Financial Attitudes Study with Associate Professor Manuka Henare and Professor Chris Sibley, says cultural identity provides a set of rules and guidelines for living and is a very powerful driver of behaviour.

Previous research by the business school showed that to create policies that supported Maori to advance economically, there had to be understanding of the cultural differences in what Maori value, their notions of wealth and security, and the possibilities they see are available to them as Maori.

Dr Houkamau says as the business school's associate dean of Maori and Pacific development she wants to see more Maori enrol in commerce degrees.

By 2040 Maori will be a significant proportion of New Zealand's working-age population and there may not be enough Maori graduates to fill the many business and education positions that will require Maori.

Maori are less likely to own their own home, tend to have less personal savings and are less likely to enrol in KiwiSaver, so the survey could help identify what kind of financial products and services may change this imbalance.

A previous study by Professor Sibley and Dr Houkamau showed Maori value relational wellbeing highly.

It also found those who felt strong in their cultural identity were less likely to be enrolled in KiwiSaver and more likely to expect financial security in retirement.

This shows that although Maori society has changed dramatically, some deeply held cultural beliefs around relational wellbeing remain.

The survey is part of a Marsden-funded project called How Great Can We Be: Identity Leaders of the Maori Economic Renaissance and grew out of another landmark survey by Dr Houkamau and Professor Sibley that measures Maori identity and cultural engagement.

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