No matter how we measure, large ethnic pay gaps exist in New Zealand with Europeans earning more than any other ethnic group. For wāhine Māori this means gender and ethnicity combine to create a pay gap of over 15 percent when compared with the median hourly pay of all men. Compared with tāne Māori, wāhine Māori have a pay gap of 7.7 percent.
Pay gaps for wāhine Māori vary by occupation. The most common occupations for wāhine Māori are as professionals, as community and personal services workers and as clerical workers.
Professionals have the highest hourly pay. However, they also have the highest pay gap for wāhine Māori: 21.1 percent. 11 percent of wāhine Māori work as managers, where the pay gap is 18.5 percent compared with all male managers.
Employers have an important role in reducing inequality and ensuring that wāhine Māori’s capability is realised, and contribution rewarded. For our recommended actions for employers, take a look at the “What Can Employers Do?” page.
|Occupation (by most to fewest wāhine Māori)||Wāhine Māori median hourly pay||All men's median hourly pay||Wāhine Māori's pay gap compared with all men|
|Community and Personal Service workers||$21.70||$25.89||16.2%|
|Clerical and Administration workers||$24.16||$29.00||16.7%|
|Technicians and Trade workers||$22.00||$27.00||18.5|
|Machinery operators and drivers||$22.11||$24.45||9.6|
|Total All Occupations||$24.00||$28.29||15.2%|
There are around 173,400 wāhine Māori employed in the New Zealand labour force. This means that wāhine Māori make up 6.4 percent of the total labour force, and 47.8 percent of the Māori labour force.
Of wāhine Māori aged 15 or older, in 2020:
- 64 percent were in the labour force (employed, or looking for employment)
- 59 percent were employed
- 9 percent were unemployed.
The rate of employment for wāhine Māori was hit hard by the 2008 global financial crisis, and it’s taken longer to correct this than for some other groups. This is partly because wāhine Māori are more likely to work in industries which are vulnerable to employment shocks, such as tourism and sales.
A 2018 study by the Ministry of Education (drawing from their 2018 PISA database) showed that 15-year-old Māori girls aspired to the following top 10 careers:
- Nurses and Midwives
- Police Officers
- Travel Attendants and Travel Stewards
- Musical Performers
Wāhine Māori in Business
In 2019, the Ministry for Women conducted research into wāhine Māori who own and work within their own businesses. We found that:
- Around 6,500 wāhine Māori are in business (or 3 percent of all wāhine Māori), with business ownership highest among wāhine aged 45-60
- Wāhine Māori who own businesses are more likely to be based in rural and provincial areas than non-business owners
- The top industries for wāhine Māori businesses were: agriculture, forestry and fishing; professional, scientific and technical services; construction; and health care and social assistance.
Wāhine Māori in Leadership
Following the 2020 election, 12 women Members of Parliament now self-identify as Māori (10 percent of all MPs).
Wāhine Māori in the Public Service
While Māori made up 15.9 percent of the New Zealand public service in 2020 (source: Public Sector Workforce Data 2020), Māori are under-represented as policy analysts compared with Pākeha public servants. Wāhine and tāne Māori are well-represented as inspectors, regulatory officers, and as social, health and education workers.