Mana Wahine claim gathers powerful evidence

A survey of wāhine Māori in the PSA has drawn a fantastic response - with more than 900 members taking the time to tell us about their employment experiences.

The survey was held to help gather evidence for Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina’s Mana Wahine Waitangi Tribunal claim, which challenges treaty breaches that have led to employment inequities for wāhine.

A clear result emerging from the survey is the high percentage of respondents who reported experiencing bias, racism and discrimination at work.

We’ll have more survey findings once our analysis is complete.

The claimants would like to thank all those who participated in the survey.


Heartfelt kōrero from wāhine Māori about the injustices they’ve experienced were also heard during this year’s sector hui.

Wāhine at the hui spoke of how the education system had failed them through bias, segregation, a lack of Te Ao Māori in schools and of encouragement to achieve.

They said systemic bias, racism and bullying continued into the workplace.

Others spoke of being labelled too confrontational, strong, difficult, assertive or aggressive in the workplace. One wahine said her ‘passion is often perceived as a threat’.

PSA Kaiwhakarite Māori Marcia Puru says the kōrero was often “emotional” but the strength of the wāhine in overcoming barriers also shone through.

The kōrero from the hui will provide further evidence for our Treaty claim.


As work progresses on the claim, new statistics are emerging about the persistence of the pay gap for wāhine Māori.

While New Zealand women effectively began working for free on November 18 due to a 11.9% pay gap with men, wāhine Māori have been working for free since October 12 due to a 22.1% pay gap.

Our own PSA Pay Survey also reflects the gender and ethnic pay gaps in the wider workforce.

“The numbers remain terrible for Māori and Pasefika women,” says PSA organiser Dolly Larkins.

“We need to get some hits on the board. Let’s hope this claim helps us to do that.”

The claimants expect to hear more about a hearing date in April.

They’re moving into full campaign mode with the development of branding, and plans to hold a stall at Waitangi in February.

Mana Wahine team Edited

Mana Wahine claim rōpū: Marcia Puru, Dolly Larkins, Helen Panoho, Sue O’Shea, Tania Te Whenua, Marshall Tangaroa, claimants Paula Davis and Georgina Kerr, and Leslie Dixon. (Absent claimant Llani Harding)