NZ Māori have highest rate of work/life satisfaction, says study

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A new study from Massey University has found that New Zealand Māori had the highest level of work/life satisfaction out of seven cultures.

Lead author Professor Jarrod Haar said that although the survey was not representative of all Māori, it showed that culture contributes to how people assess their own sense of wellbeing.

“All of the 1416 employees we surveyed were professionals and they were all generally doing well,” said Haar. “So, we’re not saying that all Māori are highly satisfied with life, but more that those Māori who are employed feel better about their work/life balance and lives more generally than, say, Pākehā.”

The researchers conducting the study compared the outlooks of employees from seven distinct cultures: Malaysian, Chinese, Māori, Pākehā, Spanish, French and Italian.

These cultures fell into two categories: those that were individualistic – Pākehā, Spanish, French and Italian – and those that were more collectivist – Malaysian, Chinese and Māori.

“Basically this is a cultural dimension that has significant impact on how people view their work and family responsibilities,” continued Haar. “It’s about whether they see themselves as independent individuals or as tightly linked to others as part of a group.”

Researchers also found that work/life balance was more of a priority to those from ‘individualistic’ cultures.

Workers from these cultures tended to be highly satisfied with both work and life if they felt they were achieving a good balance – whereas those who did not have balance tended to express strong feelings of anxiety and depression.

“Meanwhile, those who are part of a collectivist culture accept that working hard or long hours can be inevitable if your main goal is achieving family security,” Haar explained.

When comparing the wellbeing of Māori and Pākehā workers, researchers found that when placed in similar work situations, Māori employees consistently felt more satisfied.

“Even if work is dominating their time, many Māori employees feel they are meeting the demands of their culture by being good parents and providing what their wider whānau needs,” Haar said.

“They don’t feel the same conflict or see it as a threat to their own personal wellbeing.”

According to the report, 67% of Māori respondents rated their work/life balance as above average, and 81% gave the same rating to their life satisfaction.

“If your world view is not all about your own personal wellbeing, you are more likely to feel content with your work/life balance, even if it doesn’t mean you’re actually working less hours,” said Haar.

The findings of the report concluded the following:

Above-average work-life balance:

Maori - 67%
Malaysia - 59%
NZ European - 58%
Spain - 58%
China - 56%
France - 46%
Italy - 42%
Above-average life satisfaction

Maori - 81%
Spain - 68%
France - 60%
NZ European - 59%
Malaysia - 54%
China - 49%
Italy - 49%
  • Baron von Munchausen on 28/09/2015 11:44:17 p.m.

    no comment

  • Baron von Munchausen on 25/09/2015 10:00:26 p.m.

    Better genetic health must be a co factor of happiness, being healthy is usually also being happy.
    Just watching Homai te Pakipaki and My Reggae Song on the telly..... bushy eyebrows, strong features, robust health, even among overweight people, good heart, humour and spirit.

    White males have less friends than any other group
    its tough at the top.

    Its a bit like the miserable wealthy too.
    'It is harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven, than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle.'
    However all is not clear, Samoan people are probably #1 for suicide, and Maori are nearly twice as high per 1000 as the national average.

    In conclusion; some may be less likely to complain or be negative, so the results are probably very very skewed by this cultural glitch.

  • Prof Jarrod Haar on 18/09/2015 5:16:24 p.m.

    Kia ora Mary-Ann

    Thanks for that. Indeed, not representative of many but the comparison groups are representative - both educated professional groups. My take home form this point is, there are serious benefits for Maori (and wider NZ society) by having more Maori in such jobs. Nga mihi, Jarrod

  • Mary-Ann on 18/09/2015 2:15:31 p.m.

    I'm happy you advised that this sample wasnt representative of the general Maori population, and were all professionals, because the reality for many is far from satisfactory. Some examples are the cleaning, freezing work, prison service, fishing industry and forestry industries where they are walking a tightrope every day and paid less than liveable wages.

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