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Background report for the WAI 60 Claim.

Author Category Source

Ministry of Justice., ,

Published Year Read Publication

This report, commissioned by the Waitangi Tribunal, explores the evolution of government housing policies from the 19th century, examining their origins, developments, and consequences for Māori people.

It provides an historical overview of both mainstream policies and Māori housing policies across four time periods: 19th century, 1900-1935; 1935-1950, and 1950-1972. While broad ranging, with examinations of social, economic, and cultural factors, there is a particular focus on what might be called ‘social engineering’. The report discusses how government attitudes towards family life influenced housing policies, often conflicting with Māori whānau systems. It addresses the exclusion of larger and extended Māori families from mainstream housing resources until the late 1960s, and the requirement for Māori applicants to adopt European living styles. The document also explores the concept of ‘pepper-potting,’ or dispersing Māori families among Pākehā neighbourhoods, as a means to mitigate perceived threats of alternative lifestyles and maintain the illusion of a classless suburb. It also notes the role of the Hunn Report of the early 1960s, which acknowledged the validity of Māori retaining aspects of their culture, yet continued to emphasise access to similar housing as Pākehā. The report outlines the shift in housing policies in the 1970s towards recognizing the needs of urban Māori and the development of a welfare function in housing policies by the 1980s, targeting the country’s poorest groups, including many Māori. The history of Māori access to housing resources is marked by a gradual erosion of the principle that assistance should go to moderate-income families in poor conditions, with the concept of ‘deservingness’ playing a crucial role in access. The report highlights the development of parallel housing delivery systems via the Department of Māori Affairs, marked by confusion and overlapping roles between departments. As well as providing comprehensive historical analysis the report also contains a number of useful statistics relating to Māori housing.

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