Waipiro / alcohol and Māori
It is important to know that pre-European Māori were one of the few known societies not to have manufactured or used psychoactive substances.
Many Māori petitioned Parliament for the total prohibition of alcohol, realising the harm it was causing to their communities.
There is an excellent resource on the history of alcohol and Māori, click the button below.
Trends in alcohol consumption among Māori
‘Hazardous drinking’ refers to an established alcohol drinking pattern that carries a risk of harming the drinker’s physical or mental health or having harmful social effects on the drinker or others.
From 2011/12 to 2015/16, hazardous consumption remained stable among Māori men but increased substantially among Māori women. In 2012/13, Māori women had a rate of hazardous drinking equal to that of European/other men.
The survey question changed in 2015/16 - but what can be seen is that the rates of hazardous drinking remain high among Māori men and women.
These changes are shown below:
Among men, the rates (%) of hazardous drinking are below:
Among women, the rates (%) of hazardous drinking are below:
Among different ethnic groups, the rates (%) of hazardous drinking among are below:
Inequities between Māori and non-Māori
In 2017/18, there were large differences in the prevalence of hazardous drinking between Māori and non-Māori:
- Māori were 1.62 times more likely to be classified as hazardous drinkers
- Māori men were 1.42 times more likely to be classified as hazardous drinkers
- Māori women were 2.04 times more likely to be classified as hazardous drinkers
Alcohol-related harm among Māori
Māori suffer extraordinary harm from alcohol - from their own drinking and from the drinking of others:
- Between 2004 and 2007, Māori deaths from alcohol were two and half times greater than non-Maori.
- Of the 802 alcohol-related deaths in New Zealand in 2007, 185 were Māori and 617 were non-Māori.
- Māori are more likely to be apprehended by police for an offence that involved alcohol
- Māori are more likely to experience harmful effects on areas such as financial position, work, study or employment, injuries and legal problems as a result of their drinking compared with other New Zealanders
- Māori women suffer more adverse effects as a result of other people’s drinking than any other sub-group by ethnicity and gender.
- There are strong links between alcohol and suicide. New Zealand has the highest rate of youth suicide in the developed world and again, inequalities are present between Maori and non-Māori.
The social, economic and physical environment is unjust
Economic deprivation plays a major role in drinking and harm. Māori are more likely to experience deprivation than non-Māori.
The effects of colonisation, institutional and structural biases are likely to play major roles in Māori experiencing disproportionately more harm from their drinking and ability to improve the socio-economic and physical conditions of daily life.
Māori are more likely to live in communities saturated with alcohol outlets. Outlets face stiff competition so will often lower their prices and stay open for longer.
This increased availability of cheap alcohol and longer opening hours is likely to play a major role in Māori suffering more alcohol-related harm.
Research shows that Māori (and Pacific) young males are more negatively impacted by living in close proximity to alcohol outlets than European young males aged 18-24 years.