The thin brown line : re-indigenizing inequality in aotearoa New Zealand

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This study critically examines inequality within New Zealand's indigenous Māori population. Specifically it asks whether strong ties to Māori identity incur higher socio-economic costs. Historical expository analysis is undertaken in concert with statistical analyses of data from the New Zealand Census of Population and Dwellings (1996, 2001, 2006), and a longitudinal study of Māori households. I find strong evidence of ethnic and socio-economic segmentation within the Māori population. In each census, individuals identified exclusively as Māori by ethnicity are the most disadvantaged across a wide range of socio-economic indicators. Those identified as Māori solely by ancestry are the least disadvantaged. Pronounced differences in Māori language ability and intra-Māori partnering are also evident, indicating that the association between Māori identification and disadvantage may be partially explained by ties to Māori identity. Regression analyses of multi-wave survey data reveal a complex set of relationships. Changing patterns of identification suggest self-designation as a Māori is best conceived as a fluid, contingent process rather than a stable, individual trait. Māori identification is generally a less salient predictor of disadvantage than specific ties to Māori identity, expressed through network ties, language, and practices. However, while some ties to Māori identity appear to incur high socio-economic costs, other ties are inconsequential, or advantageous. Taken together, the analyses contribute new insights into patterns of inequality between Māori, and highlight the need for more careful theorizing and interpretation of ethnicity variables in empirical analysis.


Type of resource text
Form electronic; electronic resource; remote
Extent 1 online resource.
Publication date 2010
Issuance monographic
Language English


Associated with Kukutai, Tahu Hera
Associated with Stanford University, Department of Sociology.
Primary advisor Snipp, C. Matthew
Thesis advisor Snipp, C. Matthew
Thesis advisor Cunningham, Chris
Thesis advisor McDermott, Monica, 1971-
Advisor Cunningham, Chris
Advisor McDermott, Monica, 1971-


Genre Theses

Bibliographic information

Statement of responsibility Tahu H. Kukutai.
Note Submitted to the Department of Sociology.
Thesis Ph.D. Stanford University 2010
Location electronic resource

Access conditions

© 2010 by Tahu Hera Kukutai
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).

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