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Purpose, overview, and key findings

Te tū kāhikatea – awhi mai, awhi atu, tātou e.

Like the roots of the kāhikatea, whānau remain strong through supportive intertwined relationships.

Purpose

Ngā tohu o te ora: The determinants of life satisfaction for Māori 2013 provides a comprehensive understanding of the aspects of life that contribute to life satisfaction for Māori.

People have always pursued well-being. Governments are concerned with providing better lives for their citizens. They can do this by developing the conditions and selecting the interventions that enable people to live the lives they want. To do this, we need to better understand the areas of life that have the greatest impact on well-being.

Previous work on well-being tended to look at populations as a whole – only a few have examined smaller sections of the population.

Little analysis exists on the relationship between life satisfaction and culture. In this report we also look at whether a stronger connection to Māori culture is associated with higher levels of life satisfaction.

Overview

Maximising well-being has been a goal of individuals, groups, and governments for many years. A key aspect of individual well-being is life satisfaction. Much research has shown which aspects of life are most important in producing high levels of satisfaction in life for both individuals and society. This previous research lacks two important areas on life satisfaction for Māori: which aspects of life contribute greatly to this, and whether connection to Māori culture is associated with higher levels of life satisfaction.

Regression analysis shows that life satisfaction for Māori is significantly associated with the same aspects of life as other populations around the world, including New Zealanders. In particular, relationships, health, and income have the strongest associations. However, some evidence shows that relationships have a stronger association for Māori than for all New Zealanders.

For Māori, connecting with their culture is also associated with life satisfaction. The more important it is to be involved in things to do with Māori culture, the more likely their levels of life satisfaction are higher. However, this relationship is not strong – the most important factors for Māori remain relationships, health, and income.

Key findings

  •  In 2013, 4 of 5 (81 percent) Māori rated their life satisfaction at 7 or more out of 10.
  • Māori who had not felt lonely in the last four weeks gave higher ratings for life satisfaction than those who felt lonely to some extent.
  • Māori who are partnered gave higher ratings for life satisfaction than those who are not partnered.
  • Māori who assessed their health status as good, very good, or excellent are more likely to have higher life satisfaction than Māori who assessed their health status as fair or poor.
  • Māori who have ‘more than enough’ or ‘enough’ income to meet their everyday needs reported higher levels of life satisfaction than those who have ‘only just enough’ or ‘not enough’.
  • As the number of housing problems increases, overall life satisfaction decreases.
  • As trust in others or institutions increases, life satisfaction also increases.
  • The more important it is for Māori to be involved in Māori culture, the higher their levels of life satisfaction.
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