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Education, Health and Housing in the Taihape Inquiry District, 1880–2013 (Wai 2180, #A41).

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Waitangi Tribunal, ,

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This report, presented as evidence in the Waitangi Tribunal's Taihape Inquiry (Wai 2180), provides a comprehensive historical analysis of the interlinked sectors of education, health, and housing within the Taihape Inquiry District from 1880 to 2013.

Christoffel examines the impact of colonial and post-colonial policies on Māori communities in the Taihape area, focusing on the systemic challenges and disparities faced by Māori in accessing quality education, healthcare, and housing over more than a century. The report is divided into three main sections, on education, health, and housing respectively. Each section in turn has its own introduction which includes a chapter overview. Each section also includes a conclusion chapter which attempts to address the questions outlined in the commission for this report. The introductory chapter also includes a brief overview of Māori communities within the Taihape inquiry district using data from censuses from 1926 onwards. The report highlights the persistent underfunding and neglect these sectors experienced, contributing to significant health disparities, educational underachievement, and substandard housing conditions for Māori. By drawing on a wide range of historical documents, government reports, and firsthand accounts, Christoffel illustrates the cumulative effect of these disparities on the wellbeing of Māori communities in the Taihape District. The report provides detailed evidence of how institutional biases and structural inequalities have hindered the development of Māori across education, healthcare, and housing. On housing, the report’s main finding is the existence of what has been dubbed the ‘rural paradox’, where improvements in housing quality and amenities were observed without a corresponding increase in mortgage-based homeownership. This paradox is attributed to Māori moving into rental housing built on farms with government loans, indicating significant quality-of-life improvements without direct assistance from the Department of Māori Affairs. The report examines the extent of Crown or local authority housing assistance, revealing initial efforts in the early 1900s aimed at improving Māori health and housing, which saw tangible improvements that later regressed, especially during the 1930s Depression. Subsequent legislative changes and government initiatives, notably from the 1930s to the 1970s, aimed to facilitate Māori homeownership and housing quality, though with limited impact in the Taihape district. The chapter also explores the consultation and participation of Taihape Māori in housing programs, the role of railway and state housing, and the barriers and disparities faced in accessing housing assistance. It concludes that Crown policies and the Māori land title system have historically impacted Māori ability to finance and build housing, with recent government efforts focusing more on rural areas and multiply-owned Māori land, though with limited consultation and participation from Taihape Māori.

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