Doing Research with the Maori Precariat

Dr. Mohi Rua, Waikato University and Prof. Darrin Hodgetts, Massey University

In addition to public and scholarly deliberations regarding increased inequalities in New Zealand, this presentation responds to the continued socio-economic exclusion of many Māori households. We draw on recent scholarship on the precariat as an emerging social class comprised of people experiencing unstable employment, unliveable incomes, inadequate state supports, marginalisation and stigma. While we document issues of employment, food, housing and cultural insecurities shaping precarious lives, we also develop a focus on household socio-cultural practices that can buffer whānau (families) against adversity for a time, render aspects of their lives more liveable, and enable human flourishing.

This project is comprised of three key elements designed to:
• produce a demographic silhouette of Māori precariat households, and their composition and dispersal;
• foster collaboration and mutual learning with our community partner Waikato Women’s Refuge (Te
Whakaruruhau Inc); and
• engage eight Māori precariat households using participative qualitative methods that enable the coconstruction
of insights into their everyday lives, insecurities and opportunities for human flourishing.

Dr Mohi Rua, Senior Lecturer in the School of Psychology, the University of Waikato and lead researcher within the Maori and Psychology Research Unit. Key research areas include Maori and indigenous psychologies, community psychology, Maori development, social determinants of health and inequalities.

Darrin Hodgetts is Professor of Societal Psychology at Massey University and a research associate with the Maori and Psychology Research Unit at the University of Waikato. Darrin’s primary areas of research are urban poverty, the precariat, street homelessness, and health inequalities.