The Maori People and Gambling Problems

Lily Hunter
Lily HunterSeptember 17, 2021
The Maori People and Gambling Problems
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The Maoris can be found in New Zealand (Mainland), where they are the indigenous people. They arrived in the country in a convoy of canoes between 1320 and 1350. The Maori people first lived in isolation for many centuries. They developed and formulated their unique culture, and their performing arts, crafts, language, and mythology evolved separately from other Polynesian cultures.
Later, the Maoris got into contact with the Europeans beginning from the eighteenth century.

They used the opportunity to adopt the European technology, after which both cultures continued to coexist for one generation, and even signed a treaty in 1840. However, tensions later emerged over land disputes, and it degenerated into conflict in the 1860s, leading the Maoris to respond with solid resistance. Maori had already assimilated many aspects of the Western culture and society at that time, even when the treaty later fell apart. This probably explains why the majority of Maori are Christians and why they speak English in addition to their native language.

After Pakeha, the Maori are the second-biggest ethnic group in the country, with over 140,000 residing in Australia. They are active in New Zealand's sport, politics, media, and the society at large. After recovering from social epidemics, the Maori are now a strong race in New Zealand, and their culture remains strong.

Maori Gambling Problem

Problem gambling is the word used to describe a bad gambling habit or gambling addiction whereby gamblers continue to gamble desperately despite the negative consequence. However, problem gambling is more of the harm the gamblers experience than the behavior they exhibit. Many Maori face several significant social and economic problems while they also have lower income and life expectancy, unlike other ethnic groups in New Zealand. They also face a high level of health issues and crime and are not well educated.

Maori is faced with many problems such that at least 5% of the population faces individual gambling harm. As expected, the harm is not limited to the individual alone as it affects their families too. So, even if a person is not addicted to gambling, they can be affected by someone else's (friends and families) gambling. The high prevalence of problem gambling can be linked to the proliferation of pokies in Maori poor communities. Unfortunately, poor people cannot afford the enormous loss they incur when playing gaming machines. Pokie machine owners target vulnerable communities and ethnic groups like the Maori. It is hard for anyone in those areas not to think of gambling all the time because there are lots of pokie outlets there.

Even when the number of pokies reduced, Maori people still spent more on gambling due to VIP gamblers' influence despite a decline in gamblers nationwide. Aside from the economic effect, this gambling problem poses a lot of health challenges to the Maori. In a survey about gambling problems, 82% of Maori women said pokie machines were their major gambling problem. Maori women also made up a large chunk of people seeking face-to-face counseling.

Many Maori have been rendered homeless due to their gambling addiction as they continue to struggle with its for several years. A win often lures them, and they want to keep getting wins, so they use all their funds to keep playing. Some even go as far as selling off their prized assets to get money to play.

Tackling the Problem Among the Maori People

Several efforts are now underway to tackle the problem among the Maori, with the government actively involved. There is an urgent need to halt the gambling problem and save the Maori. Thus, new strategies are being formulated to help those impacted by gambling harm. One of these new strategies is the government's 60 million dollars package it reimbursed in 2019 to fight problem gambling over three years. Another step taken by councils in the region is to ban the replacement of decommissioned machines; however, it takes forever for the machines to become decommissioned.

Similarly, government and private organizations also carry out systematic studies to find the best strategies to eliminate or reduce problem gambling among the Maori. A problem gambling team/ Foundation now provides support, policy development, and information to Maori. The Foundation is encouraging the Maori to stand against the high concentration of machines in their communities and kick them out. One can only hope that all these efforts and strategies will yield favorable results and save the Maori from their chronic gambling problem in the nearest future.


Maori People
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Author Lily Hunter

Lily began an exciting journey in the iGaming industry more than 10 years ago as a content writer for various online affiliate sites, especially those located in New Zealand. With her passion for gaming and an interest in the l... Read more about the author

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