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Exploring the factors affecting Māori home ownership.

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New Zealand Population Review, 47, 262–304

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Whitehead and Walker explore the critical issue of declining Māori home ownership rates in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Given the established positive correlations between home ownership and well-being, the significant decrease in Māori home ownership is a matter of concern. As they note, three key groups of variables – health variables, socio-economic variables and cultural variables – have been indicated as playing a role in this decline. The paper aims to explore which of these play a role utilising longitudinal data from the Christchurch Health and Development Study (CHDS). The study also identifies several factors that increase the likelihood of Māori home ownership by age 35. These factors include future aspirations, economic stability, partner relationships, and mental health. While income was found to be a key variable, as would be expected, noneconomic variables such as parents’ aspirations for the children’s education, and relationship status also demonstrated significance in predicting home ownership. Contrary to expectations, the study found no significant association between Māori cultural engagement and home ownership, challenging common assumptions about the impact of cultural affiliation on housing tenure. The authors note that the findings reported are not representative of Māori across New Zealand, though the results fill a gap in understanding pathways to Māori home ownership and demonstrate the value of undertaking more research in this area. Home ownership, they conclude, comes with a range of socio-economic benefits, including lower crime rates, better education, less welfare dependency, improved health and a greater chance for low-income families to create asset wealth, which is concerning as Māori homeownership continues to decline.

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