Friday, November 25, 2016

Data, data everywhere, nor any a datum to think...

Data runs through everything I do, or am meant to do, as a researcher.

Data are pieces of the world, and they are people. We have a relationship with data that is, or should be, intimate.

Data have whakapapa.

Tahu Kukutai and friends have just published a free (!) book on the issues for us as Maori: Indigenous Data Sovereignty. Tahu has also been interviewed by Dale Husband on Waatea news, here.

"...if my data been linked up all over the show how do I know that that data is going to be used for my benefit or the benefit of my whanau or iwi. I think without having Maori right at the forefront of those conversations it's not going to benefit us."

Colleague Karaitiana Taiuru (blogging at ) has worked tirelessly in forging more space - and safer space - for Maori in the digital world. Check out his digital whakapapa thoughts here.

"It is/was common to hide and preserve whakapapa so that outsiders could not make claims to mana and land. Yet Māori in the digital area do not have the same concerns."

I'm always tussling with data: how to store it, who to show it to, what I can do with it at the end of a project. A timely reminder of the importance of proper data control in times of crises (and when are Indigenous peoples not in a crisis?!) has come from Nathaniel A. Raymond and Ziad Al Achkar of the Signal Program on Human Security and Technology, Harvard.

Nate and Ziad are that data are a central component of humanitarian response. Too often, however, "there is a disconnect between data, decision-making and response." The pressures on decision makers to make informed decisions in the first hours and days of an emergency are extreme,

"and if the elements to effectively gather, manage and analyse data are not in place before a crisis, then the evidence needed to inform response will not be available quickly enough to matter. What's more, a lack of readiness to use data can even cause 'big data disasters'".

There thoughts are available here, also free!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Maori Unemployment falls but...

September unemployment data shows the lowest unemployment rate since 2008 at 4.9%

Maori rate still double figures, as is Pasifika...

Maori unemployment is 10.6%, Pasifika 10.1%, both stubbornly high. Wage increases are stubbornly slow at 1.6%. While official inflation is still historically low (0.2%), I'm not the only one noticing a shitload of things just keep costing more and more...

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Latest Wellbeing Survey on Maori in Christchurch post-disaster

I've followed the CERA Wellbeing Surveys since their first back in 2012. The surveys contain an awesome collection of data on how Cantabrians have responded and been impacted by the earthquakes of 2011, 2012.

My main interest has been the impact on Maori. The somewhat jingoistic presentation of the Maori response (how 'resilient' we were, how wonderful our support networks are, et cetera...) is increasingly disturbing given the repeated negative stats coming out of these surveys.

Example, in the latest results (April 2016) of those more likely to say the impact on their everyday lives is moderate or major (23% of respondents) are:
  • Māori (36%)
  • Women (30%)
  • People living with children in the household (30%)
The graph below shows how Maori have answered this question over all the surveys  ...

Data has changed, well different questions are perhaps being asked as we are now 5 years on from the February 22, 20122 disaster. And the data is presented in a patchy manner, making it difficult to track groups over the time of the surveys (which I hope continue). But what they are saying is that the most consistently impacted group are Maori, and it seems to be getting worse.

Now there comes a time when the impact of the earthquakes are diluted and overtaken by other things (working conditions, family security, health, neighborhood factors and so on). But that one particular community, the Indigenous Peoples of a land that promotes its race relations to the rest of the world, continue to record their lack of resilience continues to be ignored the media, policy makers, and politicians (including Maori).

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Not lying down at Standing Rock

I have been following - from a terribly safe distance - events at Standing Rock, North Dakota, where Sioux are opposing a pipeline they say threatens their land and waters.

Red Warrior Camp in southern North Dakota was set up to back the Standing Rock Sioux Nation's fight against an oil pipeline, and has swelled as thousands show up in support. (Trevor Brine/CBC)

I've relied on Idle No More FB posts to keep informed as thousands of supporters have flooded into the area, risking threats and provocation from security personnel (footage of attacks by dogs is particularly visceral).

Just today a decision has come down from on high as the Dept. of Justice, Army and the Interior Department announced construction will pause near Lake Oahe, which is a major source of the Missouri River and an important place for Standing Rock Sioux. 

I couldn't help but compare this to a relatively minor but still gut-wrenching, shit-troubling lack of decision by the NZ Dept of Conservation who refused to a) maintain, and then b) halt demolition of a Heritage listed building at Waikaremoana


It seems the building was caught between a newly established Tribal structure (with truly exciting potential - I emphasise potential - for managing Indigenous land and resources) and mana whenua who have yet to be given the voice we are due.

Anyways, much to ponder. At this stage, awesome achievement at Standing Rock and shameful blundering at Aniwaniwa...

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Water, water everywhere, nor any a drop to drink...

Two cases highlight how governance of our water is struggling for credibility.

First, in Hawkes Bay where over 5,000 residents of Havelock North (pop. 14,000) were struck by gastroenteritis after drinking the local water. The cause of the outbreak was E. coli but the source of the E. coli is not yet confirmed, though the intensification of farming (and particularly dairying) is thought by many commentators to be the problem.

Minister for the Environment Nick Smith in his recent State of the Environment speech at Lincoln University acknowledges Maori have an integral role in ensuring water quality:

Water issues often come down to a clash of values between environmentalists and land owners. Maori have a foot in both camps and are proving to be valuable bridge builders over these troubled waters.

Initial data from GNS shows water in the Havelock aquifer was less than a year old when it should have been 50, which suggests an infrastructure problem which ultimately links back to governance and, dare I say, ownership.

Havelock North residents walking for water right now! (Sept 3rd).

Now we all now the NZ government's position: no one owns the water. Well, that's working out great for sales of toilet paper in Havelock North but most of us forsee only more costs and risks. Des Ratima of the Takitimu District Maori Council is quite explicit about the fault:

"The aquifier sits below recognised polluted river called the Tukituki which comes down from central Hawkes Bay full of faeces, both human and animal. That's how central Hawkes Bay disposes of its sewage. It's been told by regional council to sort that out and so they've gone from river to land based sewerage dispersal. Well, that's just arrogant again because that's finding its way back into the water system,"

Maori are not alone in thinking human and industry waste need to be separated from the land and water we source our sustenance from. Papatuanuku is being maltreated and like any mother, when she is sick, we are not well.

Another example is from Canada where oil leaking into the North Saskatchewan River has exposed local governance - private and public -as not being up to the task of protecting the most basic resource, namely clean water.

I visited Saskatoon in the second week of August and, by chance, met two First Nations activists working to draw attention to the disaster (languaging is important; 'spill' doesn't describe the catastrophe that oil brings to socio-ecological systems).

Emil Bell and Tyrone Tootootsis have established the Kisiskatchewan Water Alliance Network. Several organisations have endorsed KWAN, including Idle No More, the Saskatchewan Environmental Society and the North Saskatchewan River Basin Council.

Emil Bell (l) and Tyrone Tootootsis (r).
Emil staged a hunger strike to protest the oil spill.

A collaboration between Idle No More, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, the Council of Canadians, the National Aboriginal People’s Circle, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (Prairie Region) led to a report on the disaster. One of the findings is that the James Smith Cree Nation need to be supported in its effort to mitigate and monitor the damage to their traditional territory.

We might hope that Ngati Kahungunu will also be supported to ensure water improves within their territory. 

A significant advance in both Hawkes Bay and Saskatchewan would be the formal incorporation of Indigenous voices into the governance of water. Disasters such as the poisoning of Havelock North and North Saskatchewan River provide the opportunity to reinsert Indigenous voices where they should never have been excluded.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Cabinet paper proposes Treaty of Waitangi breaches

Victoria University Maori academics note "a paper prepared for Cabinet proposing the introduction of a freshwater allocation work programme would breach the Treaty of Waitangi and ignores recent Waitangi Tribunal and Supreme Court decisions in relation to Māori rights to freshwater

The Cabinet paper, dated May, 2016, includes Terms of Reference for a freshwater allocation work programme that propose three “bottom lines”: 1) “nobody owns freshwater”, 2) “no national settlement favouring iwi/hapu over other uses” and 3) “Allocation determined catchment by catchment based on resource availability, efficiency of use, good industry practice and a positive contribution to regional economic development”.

All three of these bottom lines would lead to Treaty of Waitangi breaches say Dr Maria Bargh, a senior lecturer in Te Kawa a Māui – School of Māori Studies at Victoria University, and Dr Carwyn Jones, a senior lecturer in Victoria’s School of Law.

“First of all, water is ‘owned’ in Aotearoa,” says Dr Bargh. “It is owned by Māori according to tikanga Māori, although this ownership is ignored by the Crown at the same time that the Crown allows other groups, including international companies, to make an economic profit from trading water.

“Even under common law, the statement that ‘nobody owns water’ is a gross oversimplification.”

“The Waitangi Tribunal,” Dr Jones adds, “acknowledged Māori proprietary rights in water in 2012, and these need to be acknowledged by the Crown.”

The decision of the Supreme Court in the NZ Māori Council vs Attorney General case 2013 indicated that the Crown acknowledged “Māori have rights and interests in water and geothermal resources” [145] and that these were being identified and “that no disposition or creation of property rights in water will be undertaken by the Crown without first engaging with iwi” [144].

Drs Bargh and Jones say the proposals for the freshwater allocation work programme would undermine these Crown reassurances to the Supreme Court.

In addition they say the “bottom line” proposing a catchment by catchment assessment needs to also consider the hapū and iwi of those catchments, and the onus for proving “positive contribution to regional economic development” needs to be on industry and businesses and supported by robust environmental and scientific evidence.

The Government has appointed a technical advisory group with terms of reference derived from the Cabinet paper to advise on the impact of the proposed options."

For more information contact Dr Maria Bargh on 021-025 06003 or Dr Carwyn Jones on 021 665 287 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Maori political and business delegation off to South Korea and Japan...

Te Ururoa Flavell heads a delegation off to key trading partners South Korea and Japan.

“While Māori businesses already have trading links with these countries, this cultural and trade mission is focused on strengthening those ties and initiating new links that put relationships first, before getting down to business.”

These ventures always namecheck the 'Maori economy' and its $42 billion price tag. I've posted on this before. While not wishing to completely toss the idea of a Maori subsector in the wider NZ economy, it is an economic model 'brought forth' to serve political ends, like most economic models.

Anyway, they'll all have a ball and their businesses will probably make some more money. The business that are represented are:

Tourism: Kapiti Island Nature ToursNew Zealand Māori Tourism, Te Puia  (New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute).

Forestry: Māori Investments Limited and Te Tumu Paeroa, Opepe Farm Trust.

Food & beverage: HoneyLab (food, beverage and cosmetics), New Zealand Manuka Group. Te Awanui Huka Pak, Te Pā Family Vineyards Limited, Zespri International

Seafood: Okains Bay Seafood and Ngāi Tahu Seafood, Kahungunu Asset Holding Company Board.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

What is more basic than home?

What is more basic than home? We start most days in our own homes, we look forward to getting back to our own beds when we’re away, the walls and roof protect our partners, our children, our family taonga. Within this space we’ve forged relationships with not just whānau but furniture, kitchen utensils, the contents of cupboards and fridges and - not least - pets and pot plants. Simply put, our homes encompass the most fundamental physical, financial and emotional investments of our lives. 

And we know Indigenous Peoples are rapidly urbanising, with Māori perhaps the most urbanised Indigenous society of all (around 85% of us are now city dwellers). Our urban communities are often away from tribal territories and subject to socio-economic conditions that may increase their vulnerability.

This urban environment was never especially welcoming and for some it is now positively hostile with too many whanau lacking a roof over their heads (unless you count a car roof as robust housing...).

Ōtautahi (Christchurch) saw many Maori living in damaged homes but many others opening their doors to earthquake refugees in an open and spontaneous cultural expression of support. What we learnt was the concept of ‘home’ was challenged as the necessary safety – including that of the land beneath – could not always be guaranteed. 

There are more than just 'natural hazards' operating in Aotearoa NZ Inc. of course.

The wider issue is that we have restructured our economy according to quite perverse interpretations of what motivates people, in their engagements with each other and with the wider environment.

The market will decide. Blah blah blah...

Well the market continues to be supported by communal approaches such as those practiced by Indigenous Peoples since time immemorial. With marae now housing homeless citizens, we see again Maori cultural practices - manaakitanga, whakawhanaungatanga - continuing to hold this bloody bloodied country together...

I'll not make any comment on the Minister of Housing, a Maori woman who had benefitted from state welfare in the past but now seems one of the demonic apostates. Oh, I wasn't going to what others say:

Bomber Bradbury: Dear Paula...
Anthony Robbins: What now Paul?
Maiki Sherman: Paula Bennett grilled...

Maori labour in the dairy sector...

Our troubled dairy sector looking to promote careers to Maori...

It's a tough sector, as anyone following the current state of the economy would know.

Mismanagement in NZ's biggest dairy company doesn't help.

But its the potential role of dairy for Maori that is of interest. Tony Finch, Dairy NZ Development Management, accepts that dairying has a negative image for young people: "...and evidence collected in in interviews indicates this is especially true for young Maori."

Mr. Finch then argues "This [perception] is so far from the truth and needs to be changed."

Just a quarter of Maori last longer than four years in the dairy industry compared with 44 per cent of Europeans.

We vote with our feet.

A recent Maori dairy manager visited Lincoln University and spoke on the need for the sector to change its approach to work hours - traditionally long - and conditions. Senior figures who grew up with the old model (share milking until you could buy your own dairy farm, scrub cutting and shearing until you could buy your own sheep farm) have been slow to recognise this no longer applies.

At Lincoln we are training the next generation of Maori in a programme with Ngai Tahu called Whenua Kura.

It still remains to be seen what added value we can contribute to these rangatahi - Lincoln is the only University to not teach Te Reo Maori - and with sustainable farming as distant as it ever was, what can they add to the land...

Friday, June 10, 2016

Maori home-ownership plummets...

The proportion of Māori owning their homes has fallen by 20% between 1986 and the last census, 2013.

This is compared to a total decline of just over 15%.

Pasifika communities have seen home ownership decline by almost 35%.

The figure below graphs the changes since 1991:

There are significant differences between regions, with Whangarei, Rotorua, Hastings, Tauranga and South and West Auckland seeing the largest drops:

Home ownership is a part of the Kiwi dream, what use to go under the proverb of a The Half Gallon Quarter Acre Pavlova ParadiseYeah this has gone the way of the American dream and dinosaurs but it says something of this economy when Maori are increasingly excluded despite festishising the so-called Maori economy...

Full report and Spreadsheets by Statistics NZ available here

Monday, June 06, 2016

And some good news from Lincoln...

Our new DVC MAori and Communities...

Dr Charlotte Marewa Severne

Made Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit

For services to Māori and science

Dr Charlotte Severne has been a strong advocate and mentor for Māori students in science and a trail blazer in assisting Māori asset-owning entities to understand and better utilise science and research to sustainably manage and develop their taonga tukuiho.

Dr Severne has been elected to a number of Tuwharetoa entities. She chairs both the Lake Rotoaira Trust and its Forest Trust. She has been involved with the Opepe Farm Trust for five years, the first three years as an interim trustee working to bring the insolvent Trust into a consolidated position, and has been Deputy Chair of the Trust. She worked in senior management for the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) for 12 years including roles as Chief Scientist Ocean Research and Chief Scientist Māori Development. She was responsible for rapidly developing NIWA’s Māori Development Unit Te Kuwaha o Taihoro Nukurangi, which is still a successful model for integrating Vision Maatauranga in science institutions. She is currently Deputy Vice Chancellor Māori and Communities at Lincoln University. Dr Severne was a Ministerial Appointment to the MBIE Science Board in 2014 and was previously a Ministerial Appointment to the Bioethics Council.

Charlotte, front and centre, with whanau and friends after powhiri on her starting as DVC Maori and Communities at Lincoln University, 

Accusations of corruption

Ongoing accusations of corruption surround ex-Lincoln consultant Roger Pikia.

Seems Mr Pikia has woven a merry web of directorships and companies and has ended up in hot water....

Roger Pikia in hot water?

To be fair, this does seem to be the current modus operandi for Aoteroa NZ's politico-economic elites...

Evidence of Mr. Pikia's fraudulent past surfaced when he was employed by (now ex) Vice Chancellor Andy West. Lincoln has imploded since Dr. West's demise, with four of the DVCs of his error era having left or about to leave. Again to be fair Dr. West opened Lincoln's collectives eyes to the so-called Maori economy and he helped to launch the unfortunately still-stuttering Whenua Strategy.

We should not be surprised that a slew of Maori consultants appeared to suck at the teat of institutional largesse. Institutional racism means these institutions are poorly placed to collaborate with an economically growing and culturally distinct sector.

We can, however, be disappointed.

Very disappointed...

Monday, May 30, 2016

Helen Clark: Risk and Vulnerability Analysis Special Session World Humanitarian Summit, Istanbul May 23-24, 2016

The question for Ms Clarke was on why is tackling risk is so important not just for the world humanitarians but also for sustainable development.

Thank you, one of the themes which UNDP run through all the major agenda setting conferences last year was that if development isn’t risk informed it cannot be sustainable development, at the most fundamental level we see natural disasters either shaking down or washing away or drying up development gains and so not to approach development with a risk informed lens is to endanger every investment that’s made in development and to probably set development up for very significant setbacks and indeed for the scale of humanitarian response that is sadly so often in call before.  If we were looking just at times of risk around the natural disasters clearly where you build your infrastructure, the strength to which you construct it, the level of engagement with your community and being aware of risks and being able to participate in and help direct the nature of risk reduction, these are all highly relevant to sustainable development but then I think the sessions are also calling our attention to interconnected risks and I think if we look at…what are the real risks to not achieving a goal like sustainable development goal one on the eradication of extreme poverty, what we will see I think is increasing the extreme poverty concentrated in a cluster of countries with certain characteristics which will be deep and entrenched inequalities, poor governance, risk of conflict and exposure to natural disaster and these things all tend to of course reinforce each other in a downward spiral to crisis so I think we need to be very conscious of the interconnected risks and address them comprehensively and that is why a summit like this one which is very much seeking to bring the shared analysis of humanitarian’s development act, human rights act as peaceful as whatever analysis, bring these analysis together and scanning the horizon to see where the risks are.  In a sense we know about the natural disaster risk, it may not be that easy to overcome in the year of climate change when we’re looking at worsening weather for the next 60 or 70 years but I think we more or less understand what has to be done with these more complex interconnected risks in countries which are fragile which is the hardest way we’ve come and sadly have seen some of the most profound calls for humanitarian relief at this time.

A follow up question sought to draw Ms Clarke's opinions on the future vision for sustainable development…

Well I might and address the platform just so the total support of … there’s been a lot of consultation go into the global risk platform and I think it can only be a good thing but I really want to concentrate my comment on sight, if we’re going to get risk informed development when we build and support national and local capacities to drive that development so often these discussions about us as developing the national development or other organisations but development has to happen in countries, it has to be led by governments, local, sub-national, by communities, it falls to society to participation.  I was thinking as I was listening and particularly to about some of the really exciting things you see at the local level with governance taken into their own hands to really push ahead. I remember back in the early in the second decade of this century there was an appalling drought in Niger, people died.  By the time the next one came Niger had taken action itself, it used to have partners supporting them but it came up with its own programme for food security and called it Nigerians Nurturing Nigerians, the three N’s campaign and as a result of that they have in place an early warning system that told them that another bad drought was coming but there was time to get systems in place and growing the international pathways and so on. That’s in the basis for moving on to other initiatives, I think the insurances it spreads has an enormous role to play in getting the local products that support the small holders in countries like it.  I can think of another example in Kenya, this is an example they did to prices.  The 2007 election was not a good experience in Kenya, it was a bad experience but the experience was that where the local communities and their local peace architecture because they knew there was potential risks, they could hold in peace and that was then next time to have a peaceful election so my plea really is can we all acknowledge that we’re in this business to support locals and national building the capacity to do it themselves, that’s development, that’s how we’ll truly sustain the risk in formal development.   

Many thanks to Ms Emma Hall for the transciption :)


Just back from the first World Humanitarian Summit, Istanbul, Turkey. 

As academics, we had a minor but not unimportant role. The following statement provides a normative baseline for future research and is signed by over 50 academics, many of them world leading scholars in the area of human rights. The first commitment opens Indigenous Knowledge as having an important future role in research supporting humanitarian action for our communities.

"The future of effective responses to humanitarian crises depends on developing a strong base of knowledge about current emergencies, future threats and their contexts; the populations affected by these emergencies; and the legal frameworks, institutions and interventions that seek to meet humanitarian needs and resolve these crises. Those engaged in humanitarian studies, which includes research and education, are essential to this effort.

Humanitarian studies critically examines the ways in which humanitarian crises originate and evolve, how they affect people, institutions and societies, and the responses they trigger. This field is not simply about being an instrumental partner to humanitarian actors in addressing the policy and practice issues of today. Humanitarian studies is about critically engaging with forces and factors that create positive change in order to imagine and achieve a different future for the world.

Humanitarian studies scholars present at the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) and the International Humanitarian Studies Association (IHSA) make the following six commitments:

1. We commit to make humanitarian research more collaborative and inclusive, especially with non-traditional knowledge actors and affected communities, and to ensure that knowledge is relevant to policy and practice.

2. We commit to research the impacts of the WHS - both positive and negative - on those affected by humanitarian emergencies and the future of humanitarian action. This research will include assessing the fulfillment and non-fulfillment of commitments made by WHS participants; the impact of those commitments; and the process and history of the summit itself.

3. We commit to further develop and adopt evidence-based approaches relevant to humanitarian research. Member states and humanitarian actors should support the achievement of this commitment by making humanitarian research and education a political, financial, and operational priority.

4. We commit to localize humanitarian research and education within the regions and communities affected by emergencies by recognizing, establishing, supporting and collaborating with research and educational institutions in crisis-affected areas. Member states should work to remove political, regulatory, and financial barriers that impede research and prevent the development of research institutions in crisis-affected areas.

5. We commit to improve the impact and increase the use of humanitarian research by encouraging and supporting trans-disciplinary research that collaborates with non-traditional knowledge actors. To this end, we will strive to make our research accessible and relevant beyond traditional venues, such as conferences and publications, by placing the enfranchisement of affected communities themselves at the center of our work.

6. We commit to protect academic freedom, uphold scientific ethics, and be accountable for the research we do, how it is undertaken, and how it is used. We will seek to make our results and data as open and public as possible, ensuring that our ethical obligations to the populations we research and those we research them with come first."

David Cantor
Alpaslan Özerdem
Doris Schopper
Oreste Foppiani
Galya B Ruffer
Graciela Loarche
François Grunewald
Michael van Rooyen
Michel Veuthey
Karl Blanchet
Ranjana Mukhopadhyaya
Lucatello Simone
Alexander Betts
Dan Maxwell
Gilles Carbonier
Antonio Donini
Simon Lambert
Alex de Waal
Dennis Dijkzeul
Joost Herman
Mihir Bhatt
Julia Steets
Kirsten Johnson
Bertrand Taithe
Wendy Fenton
Kristin Sandvik
Mitulo Silengo
Lydia Poole
Ibrahim Awad
Mahbuba Nasreen
Jacob Opadeyi
Wasseem Abaza
Ezzeddine Abdelmoula
Michael Barnett
Jyotsna Puri
Tanja Granzow
Cassie Kenney
Jeremy Collymore
Andrew Collins
Catherine Bragg
Alistair Edgar
Martine Najem
Seun Kolade
Mukesh Kapila
Kirsten Geldorf
Helen Young
Graham Sem
Anna Goos
Susan Akram
Patrick Vink
Wolf Dieter Eberwein
Randolph Kent

Bonaventure Rutinwa

With Professor Thea Hilhorst, Professor of Humanitarian Aid and Reconstruction

Monday, April 11, 2016

Unemployment by ethnicity and age...

In response to a very important comment a while ago (apologies for the delay in responding :) I tracked down this data:

We see significantly greater unemployment in Maori and Pasifika 15-24 year-olds - 28-29% - and also in the 25-34 age group.

StatsNZ post a useful, unashamed, historical overview of the impacts of neoliberalism on Maori unemployment here. A better, academic, analysis by Brian Easton is here.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Occupation Outlook: missing indicators?

The just released 'Occupation Outlooks Report' from MBIE scores jobs accoridng to three broad - but fundamental - criteria: income, fees (i.e., for education and training), and job prospects.

All good.

But out of curiosity, and in the interests of having a korero on suicide, how do the 'best' ranked jobs according to this government stack up in terms of mental health?

What I've done is found the NZ job dashboard score for each of the top ten jobs for suicide in the US (can't find equivalent data in Aoteroa - any clues to a reliable source?); the score below each figure is the rate above the national US average for suicide. Rough cut but interesting...

1.87 x average suicide rate


1.54 (this is the US figure; poor buggers are armed...)


                                            1.29 x average US suicide rate.

Of course, income and job prospects are no protection against mental health crises. I'm interested in the farmers of this country and how they look after themselves or how we as a society look after them. They're getting a lot of stick at the moment and it ain't helping...

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Latest Maori un/employment data...

NZ Labour Force survey data in from December 2015. Headline data is unemployment surprisingly down...

Labour participation data interesting...

While Maori unemployment is down (but still double figures) our participation in employment is 
declining. Pasifika participation well up, Pakeha up. The structure of the NZ economy seems to be favouring Pasifika participation - a rapid increase - over Maori and Pakeha. This says something about the type of jobs (service sector?).

Friday, January 29, 2016

NZ Agriculture graduate numbers on the downward slope...

Interesting data on the declining trend for NZ graduates in our key sectors with the number of domestic students completing qualifications in agriculture or related sectors between 2009-14 fell by 2000 students.

The data is from the Ministry of Education report What did they do? The field of study of domestic graduates 2011-2014. First graph is trend over time, all students...

Second graph, graduates in Ag and related fields by ethnicity...

Heaps of Maori ... I need to crunch this according to level of qual. But not today. That bloody chicken...

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Maori wellbeing in Otautahi no better five years after disaster...

I did a quick post on the latest CERA (Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority) Wellbeing Survey a while ago and promised an analysis of Maori experiences...

First, who's still struggling? Those less likely to rate their overall quality of life positively are:

  • Those who have unresolved claims at the property they own and usually live in (49%)
  • Living with a health condition or disability (56%)
  • Living in temporary housing (57%)
  • From a household with an income of less than $30,000 (59%) or $30,001 to $60,000 (72%)
  • Of Māori ethnicity (62%)
  • Of Pacific, Asian, or Indian ethnicity (66%)
  • Renting the dwelling they usually live in (67%)
Two things are remarkable about these data.

First, they are essentially unchanged over the past few years. Here's a graph of Maori, those with health conditions or disabilities, of Pacific, Asian, or Indian ethnicity (lets ignore the diversity within these broad categories...):

The trend lines are actually UP for a each of these categories! (The slight decline, 63% to 62%, for Maori is within the margin of error of 2%).

Going through the report I'm struck by how often Maori respondents are recording negative experiences to the questions. For example, whereas 7% of those surveyed are more likely to say the 'loss of access to the natural environment' has had a moderate or major impact, twice as many Māori (14%) record their loss of access to te taiao has had a moderate or major impact (p. 63).

The second shock is that these poor data are despite the sampling being weighted towards Ngai Tahu Whanui, one of the most powerful and wealthy Iwi Authorities around. See the sampling data ...

I've posted before on the Mana Whenua/Nga Maata Waka demographics here in Canterbury. Here's a graph from the latest census...

So Ngai Tahu are around 42% of Greater Christchurch as against the 52-55% of the CERA sample (I'm not getting into the Waitaha/ Ngati Mamoe debate though I do think it informative that three respondents name these ancient iwi...). Yet still these ongoing negative wellbeing stats from CERA. 

WTF as one might exclaim...

If I was to list a third remarkable thing it would be the continuing propaganda publication of how great everything was and is for Maori and others in Otautahi. If CERA is getting it soooo wrong... oh, is that a stray chicken walking around our lawn...

'Too much weights...'

Jake: Gee, where did you get those muscles from? Bro, you've been lifting those weights, huh?

Thug: …

Jake: What, you've done lag? Am I right?

Thug: You want to fuck with me?

Jake beats thug

Jake: You should learn to pay your respects. In case you want to know, it's Jake... Jake the Muss.


Jake: I was right... too much weights, not enough speed work. Useless prick.
                                                                                                                    ('Once Were Warriors, 1994)

I'm reminded of Mr. Muss' warning of too much weights, not enough speed work by a Radio NZ report on the strength of the Maori economy...

The Māori economy is doing well. It's estimated to have a shared wealth of $40 billion, with the biggest investments in the fishing, forestry and farming industries.

Yeah yeah, whateva.

The source of this is a financial firm TBD Advisory. In the words of Phil Barry

"Six of the seven iwi are doing really well in terms of their financial investments performance. Ngai Tahu and Ngati Whatua ki Orakei stand out in the last couple of years, but generally it's been a good solid performance."

My Barry has some self-interested advice:

"For any individual it's really important that they look at more independent advice around issues: what are their investment goals, what are their time horizons and what is their appetite for risk? So it will really be a question about tailoring that to each iwi's position."

And I don't disagree. The issue is the default use of Western frameworks for interpreting iwi (authority) 'success': it's a number. A number preceded by a dollar sign, associated with a number followed by a percentage sign which is how much you should 'grow'.

If this system worked, the West would be a marvelous refuge of wealth and stability, rich people would not feel scared (and hide behind barbed wire walls with armed security), and poor people wouldn't sit around the streets of the world's 'richest' cities asking for coins to feed themselves.

 Dr. Shaun Awatere along with Craig Pauling talk about this in our video on Indigenous frameworks for managing collective assets:

"The challenge for Māori carrying out development is to determine how to balance the drivers of a neo-liberal economic approach with the very ideals and principles that define us as Māori to ensure quality social and environmental outcomes for future generations."

Link to the short video here: Whakatipu Rawa Mā Ngā Uri Whakatipu | Media Centre

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Epsilon Theory

I've been reading a wide range of blogs this summer (such as Croaking Cassandra, linked in a previous post) and now am linking Salient Partners 'Epsilon Theory' which has focused on China, an important trading partner for the so-called Maori Economy.

The blog gives a nice line up of US pop culture quotes (lot of nods to The Godfather). This post n particular got me thinking... The Dude Abides.

"...if you don’t recognize that the growing concentration of global wealth within a tiny set of families is a big problem and getting bigger worldwide, you’re just not paying attention. No country in the world is more vulnerable to the political problems caused by wealth inequality and concentration than China."

We talk of this inequality all the time now but Salient's point is that while in the US, inequality can be interpreted as the system working - individualistic self-interest in a capitalist system - in a communist one-party state, extreme inequality (China has always had a mass of peasants) is counter to State legitimacy. 

I was musing on this in our own backyard, that is the increasing wealth concentration among the Maori elite (confession: I am in theory one of these elites, holding a PhD. Believe me, it ain't so w.r.t. income! I earn half what a good plumber can earn. And perhaps rightly so...).

The legitimacy of Maori elites is being undermined by the growing inequality that is a function of NZ neoliberal business models. (I would argue academics are not elites in NZ society in general although some Maori professors have some sway in Te Ao Maori, more so than their Pakeha peers). However, their situation is not one of survival as it is with Chinese elites where heads can and do roll, literally. 

Here's a thesis: Maori elites are protected by Pakeha elites as they are a necessary barrier to restless Maori communities. 

We get carrots from our own - 'Work hard, get an education, be like me', and we get sticks from Pakeha - 'If you don't work hard we'll punish you, if you don't go to school, we'll punish your parents, if you don't be like us, we'll mock you...'

Other Links:
The Maori Worldview and Policy (Ross Nepia Himona, 'Te Putatara')

Simon Lambert

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