The latest Social Report confirms many indicators are pointing to better social outcomes for Mâori. Of the 15 outcomes available for Mâori, 13 have improved since the mid-1990s.
A government report showing Mâori have made real gains in wellbeing over the past decade has been welcomed by Mâori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia.
Mr Horomia says the latest Social Report confirms many indicators are pointing to better social outcomes for Mâori. Of the 15 outcomes available for Mâori, 13 have improved since the mid-1990s.
The Social Report is published annually by the Ministry of Social Development and used a set of indicators to monitor trends across a number of areas of people's lives.
"The Labour-led government has worked consistently to improve the wellbeing of Mâori as part of its drive to ensure the rising tide lifts all boats.
"The report shows Mâori are enjoying better education, employment and living standards. There is still a gap between Mâori and non-Mâori and there is more to be done to lift Mâori living standards. But the trends are positive."
The report shows:
. Mâori life expectancy improved by 2.4 years for males and 1.9 years for females from the mid-1990s to 2000-2002, resulting in the gap between Mâori and non-Mâori life expectancy decreasing by 0.6 years.
. The proportion of households spending 30 per cent or more of their income on housing and containing at least one Mâori adult dropped sharply from 31 per cent in 2001 to 21 percent in 2004.
. Between 2001 and 2004 the percentage gap between Mâori and European New Zealander's housing affordability outcomes closed from 11 percentage points to just two percentage points.
. And between 1996 and 2004, the proportion of families containing a Mâori adult living with low incomes decreased by 21 per cent - a larger decrease than for the total population.
"The Social Report confirms that Mâori unemployment is the lowest since records began. Where one in four Mâori were unemployed in 1992, we have reduced this to about one in 13 today."
The latest figures show Mâori unemployment is just 7.6 per cent.
"More Mâori in real jobs means more bread on the table, more options for health and education, and a greater ability to contribute to the care and wellbeing of their families and communities."
Mr Horomia said there was also positive news for Mâori in education statistics. These included:
. The participation rate for Mâori children in early childhood education has increased from 84.8 per cent in 2000 to 89.9 per cent in 2006, decreasing the gap between Mâori and the European population by 2.5 percentage points.
. Between 1996 and 2006, Mâori educational attainment increased by 12 percentage points for those with upper secondary education (from 48 percent to 60). The growth in upper secondary qualifications amongst the Mâori population has resulted in the percentage gap to European New Zealanders with upper secondary qualifications closing.
. The percentage of Mâori with tertiary qualifications has more than tripled. In 2006, 17.9 per cent of Mâori participated in tertiary education compared to 12.5 percent of Europeans [age standardised].
"The education sector has more to do to lift Mâori educational achievement however. There are also some indicators in the report that appear particularly hard to shift."
These include Mâori rates of obesity and smoking, the senseless death of Mâori caused through road accidents, and the Mâori experience of crime committed against them.
"Quite frankly too many Mâori continue to die needlessly. One of the drivers of this is violence. The Mâori assault mortality rate is about four times higher than the non-Mâori rate, though it is tracking down.
"And too many Mâori children continue to die at the hands of adults. Mâori children died from maltreatment at an average annual rate of 1.4 per 100,000 children compared to an average annual rate of 0.6 per 100,000 for non-Mâori children."
"So we know there is still more work to do, but over all we know we've made massive in-roads into the disparity and despair that gripped this country at the end of the 1990s."