Research shows Pacific contribution to voluntary and unpaid work

New Zealand’s Pacific peoples not only give their time, but also their cultural knowledge, technical expertise, practical and logistical resources, money, and social support as voluntary and unpaid work, said Pacific Peoples Minister Aupito William Sio.

That is the finding of the Pacific Economy Research Report. In 2018, The Treasury said Pacific peoples spent approximately 27,000 hours per week on volunteer labour in this report on the New Zealand Pacific Economy, the first ever of its kind.

“However, Pacific participants did not recognise the meaning of volunteering because it was natural for Pacific people. The current economic measurements of Pacific contributions to the New Zealand economy are underestimated due to cultural differences in defining and measuring unpaid work and volunteering,” Aupito William Sio said.

“The objective of MPP’s Pacific Economy Research report was to unpack Pacific concepts of volunteering, wealth and wellbeing and the Pacific contribution to the wider New Zealand society and economy, as highlighted in the Treasury report.”

To gather data, the Ministry undertook 27 focus group talanoa, 47 individual Talanoa and a national online survey in February 2021. Two thousand participants stratified by age, gender, region, and nine Pacific ethnic communities and Pacific youth voices around Aotearoa, and a Pacific framework Kakala were used to produce an accurate illustration of unpaid work and volunteering.

Research findings reveal 44 percent of Pacific peoples contributed a total of $2.4m of their own money to help others over four months, equating to an average of $161 per week per person.

Pacific peoples were also more likely to engage in volunteer and unpaid work if they were over the age of 25, had an annual income over $15,000, were inside the labour market, and had achieved a Bachelor’s degree or higher education.

“Due to COVID-19 and the national lockdown in March 2020, Pacific communities were significantly impacted. The research report presented that over half of the survey participants reported providing increased social support during lockdown. With nearly 40 percent of participants reported increased caregiving for the elderly, providing administrative support, and serving as cultural leaders,” Aupito William Sio said.

“Pacific peoples will be essential to improving the social, cultural, financial, and environmental wellbeing of New Zealand in a post-COVID-19 environment. Thanks to this report, the New Zealand Government and public can see how Pacific peoples’ engagement in unpaid work and volunteering contributes significantly to the New Zealand economy,” Aupito William Sio said.

For further Information : To view the Pacific Economy Research Report, visit