I read a lot of evidence about the harmful impacts of colonisation and government policy on Maori and a lot of it is processed, assessed for relevancy to the particular claimant file that I am working on, and then stored for future use. The sheer volume of evidence of discrimination and prejudice towards Maori over the past 170 years can be overwhelming if not treated in this way. But every now and then I come across something which is so shocking in its portrayal of the discrimination Maori experienced that it takes some time for the mind to fully process it.
I came across the following in my day’s readings. It is a simple statistic, it is a shocking statistic and, what’s worse, is that it arises out of a period of perhaps the most social welfare-oriented administration of our nations history.
In 1949, of the 30,000 state houses built by the Government nationwide – less than 100 had been rented to Maori.
(Claudia Orange, ‘A Kind of Equity: Labour and the Maori Party 1935-1939′, p 207)