This paper compares labour market experiences of indigenous Australians and Maori since 1971 with a particular focus on the early 1990s where employment outcomes appeared to diverge dramatically. One way to enhance the interpretability of international comparisons is to examine what happened in urban and other areas because the globalised economy means that the labour
market in major cities tend to track one another reasonably closely. It is also important to condition on the level of urbanisation in the respective countries
because geography provides a rudimentary control for differing levels of acculturation and the historical experiences of colonisation.
The analysis provides two main insights: first that Maori populations are more fully integrated into the New Zealand economy and business cycle than indigenous Australians are into the Australian economy. The second finding is that while Maori are performing very well in terms of employment growth, the
prospect for future improvements may be constrained by unresolved cultural conflict embodied in the high ongoing rates of Maori arrest. While there is a similar level of cultural conflict between indigenous and other Australians, it is probable that the historical difference in the treatment of the respective indigenous populations is partially responsible for the different economic outcomes in the two nations.
Hunter, B. (2005). A tale of two nations: The divergent pathways for indigenous labour force outcomes in Australia and New Zealand since 1991. (CIGAD Working Paper Series 7/2005). Palmerston North, N.Z.: Massey University. Centre for Indigenous Governance and Development.