Saturday, February 20, 2010

Is there an Indigenous response to financial crises?: The evolution of Māori Cultural Political Economies

Just returned from the Asia-Pacific Economic and Business History Conference, Pipitea Campus of Victoria University. I delivered a paper on Is there an Indigenous response to financial crises?: The evolution of Māori Cultural Political Economies. Essentially I see a convergence between Maori Cultural Political Economies and non-Maori/Pakeha CPEs as we now adminster more and more of our assets through a capitalist lens (which speaks of the resilience of a mode of production we as Indigenous peoples, among others, have long been critical of).

Some interesting data was presented by Evan Roberts of Victoria University on Maori height as a proxy for economic well-being. "Tall active, and well-made" Stature of the New Zealand Maori population c.1700 - 1976. I'll incorporate Evan and his associates data and analyses into my paper as I tool it up for publication.

Managed to get an hour in Archives before my flight outta town, some wonderful records of Maori farming and farmers through their engagement in Te Ahuwhenua, the 'Maori Farmer of the Year' trophy, awarded annually (with a few gaps) since 1932. This will be the subject of my next conference attendance, the massive Native American and Indigenous Studies Association conference in Tucson, Arizona, May 20-22.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Kainga Whenua

Interesting policy by which Maori can return to their land, put in place some new housing and hopefully improve their living conditions. Essentially requiring a three-way agreement between borrowers, land owners (who one presumes are whanau) and Housing New Zealand.

Perhaps this will be a topic for debate at the upcoming Maori Housing Conference. Certainly we need to move on the whole issue of Maori housing, with concerns for, among other things, overcrowding, uninsulated homes, and the security of electricity supply (especially for isolated communities). Since 1991 the proportion of Māori who own their own home has fallen from 61% to 45%. While some of this may be due to a quite rational decision to rent, given the Kiwi savings approach of paying off your house, this stat puts Maori in a very poor position for the future (oh, unless of course we're all squirreling away a good amount of our income into secure diversified investments...)

Iwi are starting to take this on this issue. Ngati Awa, for instance, are leasing six of their own houses to Housing NZ for specific whanau. (Incidentally I've heard Ngati Awa are exploring the possibility of using innovative, locally-sourced, building materials based on pumice...).

Of course they've YouTubed this announcement...

On a last note, I'm impressed by Kiwibanks proactive 'for NZ' stance on a number of issues (not least their consistently lower interest rates).

Maori Unemployment up, up, and away...

Well well well, three holes in the ground.

After all that lovely fluffy talk about the recession being over we have that most beastly of things: a jobless recovery! Maori unemployment at 15.4%, and in the words of the NZ Herald (whose online edition is rubbish in my opinion...), the unemployment rate for "the European ethnic group" is 4.6%. Pakeha should be proud of being Pakeha! And like we know, they're unlikley to be unemployed with all the stigma and poverty that involves...

Here's a good article dealing with the issue...

Of even more interest, check out these New Zealand income figures.
They show the median income is just $23,000! For wage and salary earners, it is $38,000. Jeez wayne....
Simon Lambert

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