30 April 2007
Wellington, New Zealand:
A research report launched today will lead to a better understanding of volunteering and unpaid work from a Maori perspective, says Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector Luamanuvao Winnie Laban.
Mahi Aroha: Maori Perspectives on Volunteering and Cultural Obligations, is part of the Labour-led government's ongoing commitment to removing barriers to volunteering.
"The report covers new ground and will contribute to our understanding as New Zealanders about how and why Maori volunteer," said Laban.
The term "mahi aroha" – work performed out of love, sympathy or caring through a sense of duty – was considered by research participants to capture the concept behind Maori 'voluntary' work.
"An improved understanding of mahi aroha means we can better support the needs of Maori through policy, legislation and practice," said Laban.
The report reveals that volunteering for many Maori is based on the notion of whanaungatanga (kinship) - the benefits for both individuals and the wider community are derived from contributing to the common good.
"We know from Census data that Maori make substantial voluntary contributions to New Zealand society. For example, the 2001 Census showed that nine out of 10 Maori participated in some kind of unpaid activity in the four weeks prior to the Census.
"The Labour-led government recognises the vital contribution that all volunteers make to building strong, sustainable and connected communities.
"Volunteering is good for communities and good for our society.
"Our Labour-led government will continue to promote volunteering and explore the different drivers, perspectives and cultural values that motivate volunteers," said Laban.