New research showing almost 1 in 5 Maori live offshore will challenge us in many ways, not least in the role of land in our identity, culture, and economy. Dr Tahu Kukutai has presented results of a study at a Population Association conference in Auckland that 151,000 of the universes total 815,000 Maori now live offshore, and 140,000 of them reside in Australia.
No great surprises for those of us who use social media to keep in touch with whanau.
Work we're doping at Lincoln University on the effects of the recent earthquakes on Maori in Otautahi/Christchurch show the importance of whanau and neighbours. Early days but I suspect our networks of trust that comprise social capital collapse inward in a disaster and reformat outwards as we identify our needs and establish links to those individuals and agencies that are capable of meeting those needs.
This process - a manifestation of resilience - will not be restricted to Aotearoa/NZ, and given the precarious employment situation here, we should expect Maori to emigrate.
Of course, this offshore reformulation of networks becomes highly dependent on communities, politicians, and business people that Maori may have only tenuous ties to and influence on. Hard days for too many.
Kia kaha koutou.