Carla Houkamau

Dr Carla Houkamau is an Associate Professor in the Department of Management and International Business and the Director of the Mira Szászy Research Centre for Māori and Pacific Economic Development.

Te Rangahau o Te Tuakiri Māori me Ngā Waiaro ā-Pūtea The Māori Identity and Financial Attitudes Study (MIFAS)

How does cultural identity matter for Māori economic decision-making? Te Rangahau o Te Tuakiri Māori me Ngā Waiaro ā-Pūtea | The Māori Identity and Financial Attitudes Study (MIFAS) aims to address this question.

The MIFAS is the first large-scale (n = 7,019) nationwide study of Māori aged 18 and over that aims to correlate personal cultural beliefs and practices to economic choices.

The study is led by Dr Carla Houkamau (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāi Tahu). Her research partners are Professor Chris Sibley from the School of Psychology, and Associate Professor Mānuka Hēnare from the Business School. Doctors Kiri Dell and Jamie Newth (Business School) along with Dr Jason Mika (Massey University) also collaborate in the MIFAS.

The MIFAS was launched in September 2017. The survey is funded by a Marsden grant for “How Great Can We Be: Identity Leaders of the Māori Economic Renaissance.” It is the largest survey of Māori financial attitudes that has ever been conducted.

In the first part of the project, Carla and Manuka gathered, collated and analysed insights from 25 Māori business and iwi leaders to develop the survey which was sent to 100,000 Maori in 2017. The MIFAS has been designed to measure how Māori identity shapes financial choices and what “Māori economic success as Māori” looks like in relation to economic outcomes. The MIFAS also includes the multi-dimensional model of Māori identity and cultural engagement (MMM-ICE) that Carla Houkamau and Chris Sibley designed in in 2009.

The MIFAS aims to promote informed decision-making according to Māori aspirations. This includes representing Māori economic, social, cultural, and environmental values in literature and policy about Māori. Enabling and promoting Māori economic development is important for the future of New Zealand and Māori people. However, understanding Māori economic aspirations is a complex endeavour, with many layers of intra-group diversity to consider. Each iwi (tribe) and hapū (sub-tribe) has their own distinctive history and variations. To date, there have been no large-scale nationwide representative studies with Māori that link personal cultural beliefs and practices to economic choices. MIFAS aims to fill this gap.

Recent MIFAS publications

Houkamau, C. A. & Sibley, C. (2019). The role of culture and identity for economic values: A quantitative study of Māori attitudes. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand, Tuia250 Special Issue. (accepted for publication). Doi: 10.1080/03036758.2019.1650782

Houkamau, C. A., Sibley, C., & Henare, M. (2019). Te Rangahau O Te Tuakiri Māori Me Ngā Waiaro Ā-Pūtea | The Māori Identity And Financial Attitudes Study (MIFAS): Background, Theoretical Orientation And First Wave Response Rates. MAI Journal of Indigenous Scholarship, 8 (2).  

Lockhart, C., Houkamau, C. A., Sibley, C. G., & Osborne, D. (2019). To Be at One with the Land: Māori Spirituality Predicts Greater Environmental Regard. Religions, 10(7), 427. doi:10.3390/rel10070427