Statistics New Zealand released Te Pā Harakeke: Māori housing and wellbeing 2021 this morning. The report focuses on Māori housing and wellbeing, particularly on the connections and associations between various housing measures and Māori wellbeing outcomes. The report can be accessed here.

One of the keys to intergenerational wellbeing is home ownership. We know that home ownership remains a key aspiration for most New Zealanders.

Home ownership rates are associated with age. People who are older are more likely to own or partly own their home than people in younger age groups. The Māori population is generally younger. As people in their early twenties are often the least likely to live in an owner-occupied home, having a younger population structure is likely to result in lower home ownership rates.

The report notes that Māori experience poorer housing outcomes and higher rates of homelessness. The report states that enduring low rates of home ownership have resulted in adverse economic and material outcomes with potentially wider intergenerational implications for Māori. Māori are also more likely to live in unsuitable, crowded homes, and in homes affected by dampness and mould. They are also less likely to move from renting to home ownership and generally report higher rates of unaffordable housing.

The report makes for unsettling reading especially given Māori are projected to represent a significant chunk of the nation’s working age population in future.

The report notes that Māori were much more likely to own the home they lived in, in the 1930s, but that Māori home ownership rates have fallen since then, particularly as many Māori migrated to cities. By the time national homeownership rates reached their peak in the 1990s, the rates for Māori had fallen well below that of people with European ethnicity.

Empirical reports tend to appear unexciting, but they are an effective way of measuring the success of targeted central government initiatives. This latest report from Stats NZ Tatauranga Aotearoa demonstrates there is still a long way to go to achieve equitable housing outcomes for Māori.