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Māori Homelessness.

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In T. McIntosh & M. Mulholland (Ed.). Māori Social Issues. Huia, , 191-201

Published Year

This chapter analyses into the issue of homelessness among Māori in Aotearoa New Zealand, emphasising the historical shift of Māori from rural to urban areas since the 1930s and its impact on identity and belonging.

The authors discuss the large-scale urban migration of Māori, driven by various factors from seeking opportunities to escaping rural challenges. This shift has resulted in a significant Māori population in urban areas, facing challenges including homelessness. The chapter proposes understanding Māori homelessness within a cultural context, arguing that conventional definitions do not fully capture Māori experiences. It explores homelessness beyond the absence of physical shelter, including disconnection from ancestral lands and cultural roots. The authors use Phil’s case study to illustrate how Māori maintain their cultural identity and connections despite being homeless. Phil’s story highlights the role of cultural artefacts and memories in sustaining identity and belonging despite physical dislocation. The chapter advocates for a broader understanding of homelessness that includes cultural and historical dimensions, especially for indigenous populations. It suggests rethinking how Māori identity is formed among the homeless and calls for culturally informed interventions and research. The authors question the role of iwi leaders, Māori academics, and service providers in addressing Māori homelessness, emphasising a coordinated approach that recognises this community’s unique challenges.

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