Survey reveals 93 pct of Māori impacted by racism on daily basis

Survey reveals 93 pct of Māori impacted by racism on daily basis
Photo credit: Getty Images

The majority of Māori say racism impacts them daily, and nearly all say racism is a problem for their families.

The findings are from the report Whakatika: A Survey of Māori Experiences of Racism, which was released on Monday by Te Atawhai o Te Ao - Independent Māori Institute for Environment and Health.

The survey is part of a wider research programme, He Kokonga Ngākau: Māori ways of healing, recovery and well-being, funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand, which is studying intergenerational trauma.

Over 2000 Māori across New Zealand were surveyed between February 2019 and February 2020. Respondents were asked about the types and frequency of racism they experience and the impact this has emotionally, as well as on their wellbeing and health.

Ninety-three percent said they felt racism had an impact on them daily, and 96 percent said racism was a problem for their wider whānau to some extent.

When it came to shopping, 89 percent said they were less likely than other customers to get assistance because they are Māori. Most respondents said they had been followed, watched, or asked to open their bags in a shop and a quarter say they are followed all of the time or often.

Eighty-seven percent reported seeing other Māori being treated unfairly in shops. Only 8 percent said they'd never seen any unfair treatment.

In response to not getting fair treatment at a counter because they are Māori, people used a range of strategies including talking to whānau (40 percent), confronting the person serving them (38 percent), and never going back to the store (31 percent). 

One survey respondent said racism "infiltrates our everyday experiences".

"I'm hopeful the work that many of our people are doing at many levels will contribute towards our tamariki having more positive experiences in [the] future," she said, according to the report.

"We can all contribute to change. The political system and government initiatives are also critical towards creating positive change."

Another respondent said she was "over racism" in New Zealand.

"I want to be free to be myself and I feel in the current environment, many Māori are made to assimilate forcefully via workplaces and education."

The study authors say their findings show the "pervasive nature and high level" of racism.

"There is no getting around the daily exposures to colonial racism experienced by Māori. Change must happen."