Te Mauritau a Ngāi Māori ki tōna Ao

Māori Life Satisfaction

Life satisfaction is an important indicator of wellbeing for individuals and whānau. this fact sheet documents key factors associated with increased levels of life satisfaction for Māori.

Key Facts

  • Māori have high levels of life satisfaction, with 81.5 percent indicating they were either satisfied or very satisfied with their lives in 2008/2009.
  • Māori with higher levels of education, higher income, home ownership, in employment, or in better health, were more likely to be satisfied or very satisfied with their lives.
  • More than 95 percent of Māori with bachelors degrees (or above) or in professional occupations were either satisfied or very satisfied with their lives.
  • Māori were more likely to be satisfied or very satisfied with their lives after reaching retirement age (65 years and over).
  • Māori that undertook voluntary work or other activities were more likely to be satisfied or very satisfied with their lives.

Life satisfaction

Life satisfaction is a measure of subjective wellbeing that was collected for the first time in New Zealand as part of statistics New Zealand’s 2008 General social survey. The survey had more than 8000 participants, of which 975 were Māori. Survey participants were asked “How do you feel about your life as a whole right now?” and could respond that they were either “very satisfied”, “satisfied”, “no feeling either way”, “dissatisfied”, or “very dissatisfied” with their life. An advantage of the General social survey is that it collects information across many topics, enabling analysis of factors associated with life satisfaction.

Māori life satisfaction

Māori have high levels of life satisfaction, with 81.5 percent indicating they were either satisfied or very satisfied with their lives in 2008/2009. Only 10.6 percent of Māori indicated that they were either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their lives. Differences in life satisfaction between the sexes were relatively minor, with 82.5 percent of Māori women and 80.3 percent of Māori men indicating they were either satisfied or very satisfied with their lives.

Graph 1: Life satisfaction for Māori and non-Māori in 2008/2009

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Māori have marginally lower levels of life satisfaction than Non-Māori: 81.5 percent of Māori were either satisfied or very satisfied with their lives, compared to 86.5 percent of Non-Māori. this difference reflects more Non-Māori indicating they were very satisfied with their lives (32.8 percent versus 28.3 percent for Māori) and more Māori indicating they were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their lives (10.6 percent versus 6.0 percent for Non-Māori).

Greater life satisfaction with good health

Māori were more likely to experience greater life satisfaction when their health was good, very good, or excellent. Nearly 90 percent of Māori that had excellent self assessed health status were either satisfied or very satisfied with their lives (87.5 percent of those in excellent health). In comparison, just 34.9 percent of Māori whose health was poor were either satisfied or very satisfied with their lives. the difference in the level of life satisfaction between those in excellent and poor heath was slightly greater for Māori (52.7 percentage points) than Non-Māori.

(44.9 percentage points), with 93.6 percent of Non-Māori with excellent health satisfied or very satisfied with their lives, compared with 48.7 percent of Non-Māori with poor health.

Graph 2: Life satisfaction by self assessed health status for Māori in 2008/2009

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Greater life satisfaction with higher qualifications

source: statistics New Zealand, New Zealand General social survey, 2008/2009.

Māori with higher levels of qualifications3 were more likely to experience greater life satisfaction. More than 95 percent of Māori with bachelors degrees or above were either satisfied or very satisfied with their lives

(95.6 percent). In contrast, 74.2 percent of Māori with no qualification were either satisfied or very satisfied with their lives. the difference in the level of life satisfaction between those with bachelors degrees or above and no qualification was greater for Māori (21.4 percentage points) than Non-Māori (7.2 percentage points), with 89.6 percent of Non-Māori with bachelors degrees or above satisfied or very satisfied with their lives, compared with 82.3 percent of Non-Māori with no qualification.

Graph 3: Life satisfaction by highest quaLification attained for Māori in 2008/2009

graph

Greater life satisfaction with employment

Māori in employment were more likely to experience greater life satisfaction, with 84.0 percent indicating they were either satisfied or very satisfied with their lives compared with 66.4 percent of unemployed and 78.8 percent of those not in the labour force. Life satisfaction in employment was consistent between the sexes (both at 84.0 percent) but there were marked differences in satisfaction between the sexes for those that were unemployed or not in the labour force. Māori men exhibited similar levels of life satisfaction for those that were unemployed (71.9 percent) or not in the labour force (71.4 percent). In contrast, Māori women exhibited greater life satisfaction for those not in the labour force (83.8 percent), than for those that were unemployed (61.1 percent). this suggests employment is associated with higher levels of life satisfaction for Māori men, while employment and pursuing activities outside the labour force are associated with higher levels of life satisfaction for Māori women.

Differences in life satisfaction across occupations

Māori experience different levels of life satisfaction in different occupations. the most satisfied group were professionals, with 95.5 percent indicating they were either satisfied or very satisfied with their lives. the next most satisfied groups were agriculture and fishery workers (89.8 percent satisfied or very satisfied) and legislators, administrators and managers (89.5 percent satisfied or very satisfied). the least satisfied groups were plant and machine operators and assemblers (71.5 percent satisfied or very satisfied) and trades workers (77.5 percent satisfied or very satisfied).

Graph 4: Life satisfaction by occupation for Māori in 2008/2009

graph

source: statistics New Zealand, New Zealand General social survey, 2008/2009.

Greater life satisfaction with higher incomes

Māori earning higher levels of income4 were more likely to experience greater life satisfaction. More than 90 percent of Māori earning more than $70,000 were either satisfied or very satisfied with their lives

(93.7 percent). In comparison, 79.2 percent of Māori earning $20,000 or below were either satisfied or very satisfied with their lives. the difference in the level of life satisfaction between those earning more than $70,000 or $20,000 or below was greater for Māori (14.5 percentage points) than Non-Māori (7.9 percentage points), with 92.4 percent of Non-Māori earning more than $70,000 satisfied or very satisfied with their lives, compared with 84.6 percent of Non-Māori earning $20,000 or below.

Graph 5: Life satisfaction by personal income for Māori in 2008/2009

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Greater life satisfaction with home ownership

Māori that owned5 their own homes were more likely to experience greater life satisfaction. Nearly 90 percent of Māori that owned their own homes were either satisfied or very satisfied with their lives (88.1 percent). In contrast, 75.0 percent of Māori that didn’t own their own homes were either satisfied or very satisfied with their lives. the difference in the level of life satisfaction between those that did or didn’t own their own homes was greater for Māori (13.2 percentage points) than Non-Māori (7.7 percentage points), with 88.4 percent of Non-Māori that owned their own homes satisfied or very satisfied with their lives, compared with 80.7 percent of Non-Māori that didn’t own their own homes.

Changing life satisfaction through the life course

Māori experience different levels of life satisfaction at different ages. Māori were more likely to be satisfied or very satisfied with their lives at younger ages or after reaching retirement age. More than 80 percent of Māori were satisfied or very satisfied with their lives between the ages of 15 and 44 and for those aged 65 or above. the highest levels of life satisfaction were found among Māori between the ages of 65 and 74, with 92.0 percent being satisfied or very satisfied with their lives. While life satisfaction for Māori peaks at both younger ages and after retirement age, the retirees were more likely to be very satisfied with their lives.

Graph 6: Life satisfaction by age group for Māori in 2008/2009

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source: statistics New Zealand, New Zealand General social survey, 2008/2009.

Greater life satisfaction with voluntary work

Māori that undertook voluntary work or participated in group activities, including cultural pursuits, were more likely to experience greater life satisfaction. Nearly 87 percent of Māori that did voluntary work for a group or organisation in the last four weeks were either satisfied or very satisfied with their lives (86.8 percent). In comparison, 79.2 percent of Māori that didn’t do voluntary work in the last four weeks were either satisfied or very satisfied with their lives. similarly, 88.0 percent of Māori that took part in other activities organised by a group or organisation in the last four weeks were either satisfied or very satisfied with their lives. In contrast, 77.5 percent of Māori that didn’t take part in other activities in the last four weeks were either satisfied or very satisfied with their lives.

[Footnotes]

  1. 1 Life satisfaction refers to overall life satisfaction for the Māori ethnic group aged 15 or over in statistics New Zealand’s 2008 General social survey. Owing to rounding, percentages may not sum to totals.
  2. For the purposes of this factsheet, ‘Māori’ refers to usually resident individuals of Māori ethnicity. Given the relatively small sample size for Māori, the results of the survey should be treated with caution
  3. educational qualifications are classified using Ncea Levels to distinguish between different levels of achievement. Level 1-3 qualifications are school certificates or equivalents, level 4-6 qualifications are trades certificates or diplomas and level 7+ qualifications are university level bachelors degrees or above.
  4. Dollar amounts are gross annual personal income and have not been inflation-adjusted.
  5. Home ownership refers to the tenure of the household and includes dwellings owned, partly owned or held in a family trust by the usual residents.

Table of contents

Te Mauritau a Ngāi Māori ki tōna Ao

  1. Māori Life Satisfaction

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