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Indigenous homelessness: New Zealand context.

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In Peters, E., and Christensen, J. (Eds.). Indigenous Homelessness: Perspectives from Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. University of Manitoba Press., , 323-330

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This chapter provides an analysis of Māori homelessness within the broader context of New Zealand's history and societal changes.

The chapter is structured to first offer a historical background, emphasising the impact of colonialism on Māori homelessness at personal, hapū (subtribe), iwi (tribe), and national levels. The chapter also details the geographic distribution of the Māori population and their historical interactions with European settlers. It critically examines the Treaty of Waitangi’s role and the subsequent alienation of Māori from their lands and resources. Groot and Peters highlight how these historical events have led to the socio-economic marginalisation of Māori and their overrepresentation in homeless populations in urban centres. The authors argue that homelessness among Māori is intricately linked to their experiences of being displaced from their ancestral homelands over the past 150 years. Groot and Peters discuss the unique definitions of homelessness in New Zealand, supplemented by lived experiences, addressing the complexities of defining homelessness in New Zealand, noting that the official definitions often fail to encompass the cultural, spiritual, and experiential dimensions important to Māori. They call for the inclusion of Māori perspectives in formulating a more comprehensive understanding of homelessness. The chapter pays particular attention to the health, policy, and relational consequences of rapid urbanisation on Māori people. The authors explore how homelessness intersects with human rights issues and treaty obligations. They emphasise the role of cultural practices in shaping the experiences of Māori people who are homeless, focusing on their efforts to maintain a positive sense of self and place, even when living in the streets. The chapter concludes by emphasising the critical need for culturally appropriate responses to Māori homelessness and the involvement of Māori organisations in devising and implementing these solutions.

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