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Purpose and summary

Iti rearea kahikatea ka taea

The rearea bird scales the tallest tree


Disability is an important issue for Māori, who have a relatively high disability rate for a population with a relatively young age structure. Improving the well-being of disabled Māori depends on policymakers and service providers having good information about how they are currently faring. He hauā Māori: Findings from the 2013 Disability Survey contributes to this by providing a picture of well-being among disabled Māori.

The report looks at the prevalence of disability in the Māori population. It also describes how disabled Māori compare with other Māori across social and economic outcomes including employment, income, housing, education, personal security, social connections, health, and overall life satisfaction.

For many disabled Māori, the limitations and barriers associated with disability constrain opportunities to pursue their goals and achieve economic well-being and a satisfying quality of life. Consequently, on most measures, disabled Māori tend to experience poorer economic and social outcomes than other Māori.

Summary of key points

The 2013 Disability Survey identified one in four Māori as disabled, with the most common types of impairment being those related to mobility.

Many disabled Māori experience good social and economic outcomes, and most have a good level of overall life satisfaction: on a scale of 0–10, almost half rated their overall life satisfaction as 8 or higher, while fewer than one in ten rated it below 5.

However, comparison across a range of indicators shows that disabled Māori tend to have poorer outcomes than non-disabled Māori in terms of both material well-being and quality of life, with the material disparities being the most marked.

Material well-being

  • In 2013, just over half of disabled Māori adults were participating in the labour force, but they had a relatively high unemployment rate of 17 percent.
  • Disabled Māori adults tended to have lower incomes than other Māori, with over two-thirds having personal annual incomes of $30,000 or less.
  • A quarter of disabled Māori adults said their household income was not sufficient to meet their everyday needs.
  • Perceived problems with housing were more common for disabled than non-disabled Māori, particularly issues with cold and/or damp houses.

Quality of life

  • Four in ten disabled Māori adults had no formal educational qualifications – almost double the proportion of non-disabled Māori.
  • Over a third of disabled Māori said their health was excellent or very good, while just under a third rated their health as fair or poor.
  • While almost all disabled Māori adults felt safe in their neighbourhood during the day, they were less likely than other Māori to go out in their neighbourhood alone after dark, and less likely to feel safe doing so.
  • Experiences of discrimination were more common and more frequent among disabled Māori adults than other Māori adults.
  • The vast majority of disabled Māori adults had contact with family and friends in the previous four weeks, and most were satisfied with the amount of contact.
  • Disabled Māori adults and children were less likely to participate in many popular leisure activities than their non-disabled peers.
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