Social Indicators Research

, Volume 104, Issue 1, pp 103–115 | Cite as

The Gap in the Subjective Wellbeing of Māori and New Zealand Europeans Widened Between 2005 and 2009

  • Chris G. SibleyEmail author
  • Niki Harré
  • William James Hoverd
  • Carla A. Houkamau


We compared the self-reported subjective wellbeing of Māori and New Zealand (NZ) Europeans in two NZ national postal samples. The first sample was collected in 2005 before the global financial crisis of 2007/2010. The second was collected in 2009 while the crisis was ongoing. Both samples contained large and arguably representative samples of the indigenous peoples of NZ, Māori (Ns = 289 and 964) as well as the now-majority group, NZ Europeans (Ns = 2,769 and 4,073). NZ Europeans’ scores on the Personal Wellbeing Index (PWI) were near-identical across the 2005 and 2009 samples. However, Māori, who were already lower than NZ Europeans on the PWI in 2005, showed a further decrease in 2009. We argue that this gap in wellbeing widened because material advantages experienced by NZ Europeans as a social group provides a systemic buffer which protects their personal wellbeing from the impact of economic privation. Māori, who had already experienced systemic disadvantage, were not privileged with this buffer, and thus, the effects of the 2007/2010 global financial crisis impacted their personal wellbeing to a greater extent.


Subjective wellbeing New Zealand Māori Indigenous Recession 



Collection of the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study 2009 (NZAVS-09) data analyzed in this paper was funded by a University of Auckland FRDF (#3624435/9853) grant awarded to Chris Sibley.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chris G. Sibley
    • 1
    Email author
  • Niki Harré
    • 1
  • William James Hoverd
    • 2
  • Carla A. Houkamau
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  2. 2.School of Art History, Classics and Religious StudiesVictoria University of WellingtonWellingtonNew Zealand
  3. 3.Department of Management and International BusinessUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand

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