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the Māori identity and financial attitudes study (MIFAS)., MAI, 8(2)

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This paper explores how cultural identity matters for Māori when it comes to economic decision-making.

It is based on work by the Māori Identity and Financial Attitudes Study (MIFAS). The MIFAS is the first large-scale (n = 7,019) nationwide study of Māori aged 18 and over that aims to correlate personal cultural beliefs and practices to economic choices. This paper describes the theoretical underpinnings of the MIFAS in identity economics and explains the process by which we have used Western methods and methodology to explicate the relationship between Māori identity and economic activity. The discussion starts with an examination of the adaptation of Māori to the capitalist economy imposed during colonisation, underscoring the psychological distress and cultural dissonance experienced. The paper incorporates various perspectives on Māori identity and economic behaviour, emphasising the importance of cultural values in economic decisions. It critiques the deficit framing of Māori economic achievement and discusses the intra-group diversity within the Māori community. The theoretical foundation of identity economics is introduced, explaining economic choices through the lens of social identity theory and Māori cultural engagement. MIFAS methodology and preliminary findings are outlined, offering insights into Māori attitudes towards economic activities and highlighting the challenges in achieving a representative study sample. As the authors note in the conclusion, the paper sets out the foundation for the MIFAS project and is intended to help orient its future focus.

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