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Conclusion

This report confirms that relationships, health, and income have the strongest association with the life satisfaction of Māori. Our findings are consistent with many earlier studies conducted internationally and in New Zealand. Life satisfaction for Māori is mainly driven by the same aspects as other population groups and nationalities, except for some unique aspects.

Relationships (whanaungatanga) play a greater role in the life satisfaction for Māori than we see in other populations. For Māori, relationships (through the loneliness measure) make the largest contribution. This compares with other results, including those from the NZGSS, which showed that health and then income make the largest contributions.

Our analysis also showed that living with children has a small positive association with life satisfaction. This compares with many other studies that have found no association with life satisfaction.

These findings are notable because they support how whanaungatanga, as a fundamental element of Māori culture, places importance on collectivism and interdependence with others. The value of culture comes from the importance of cultural knowledge, values, and behaviours that allow individuals to connect with each other.

It is perhaps through whanaungatanga that we see the greatest contribution of culture to life satisfaction, rather than through other more external expressions of culture. How people feel about the importance of involvement in Māori culture has a small, but positive, association with life satisfaction.

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