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Insights from Past and Present Social Science Literature on the (Unequal) Development of New Zealand’s Rural Communities

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A review of social research on rural New Zealand undertaken as part of the National Science Challenge (NSC 11) “Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities” allows a fresh look at rural development within the context of New Zealand's colonial history.

The research suggests that government development programmes and legislation privileged those responsible for producing the bulk of New Zealand’s export income. Cultural attitudes, structural inequalities and a failure to understand how the character of, and social relations in, rural areas have changed has impeded particularly Maori economic growth, the participation of women, and non-farm sectors of rural society, to the detriment of all.

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