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No. 2 (Spring 1952)
– 53 –

The Woman's World


One of the most painstaking and exacting pieces of voluntary social work in the country during this year was an exhaustive housing survey carried out by the Waitemata District Council of the Maori Women's Welfare League. Many people have shown alarm about Maori housing conditions in Auckland, and now a considerable body of very useful facts is available about some 2,500 people in need of homes—many of them in desperate need. The greatest value of the survey lies perhaps in the personal data collected for each of the families, and in the challenge to the country at large which is conveyed by the survey.

The idea started at the April conference of the League when the Under-Secretary of the Maori Affairs Department, Mr Ropiha, asked for definite facts on Maori housing in Auckland. The survey took place in July. During that month, twelve women workers were continuously on the road. All the members of the Waitemata group—close on a hundred—were involved in the survey, either taking turns on the field work, or active in the background organisation. The whole of Auckland as far as Otahuhu was covered. One essential of the survey was that it had to be completed in a month to ensure maximum accuracy. This necessitated the use of rental cars most of the time. The women stood the cost of these. The Maori Affairs Department co-operated by giving the women access to all Auckland applications received by the Department during the month.

The survey covered the great majority of the Maori population of Auckland, but notes were kept only of those in need of homes and willing to give all necessary information to the League investigators. Of these, there were 2,278, in 519 family units. There were also 167 Islanders, in 32 family units. These people, 551 households in all, require rehousing and have filled in State Housing application forms. According to the survey, 368 cases can be classed as urgent—under notice to quit, overcrowded and so on; 32 are in houses condemned by the City Council or the Health authorities.

In addition to what the survey revealed, there were a number of cases unwilling to give


information or fill in forms, or were constantly found not to be at home. Other cases again were missed where the landlord did not admit to having Maori tenants. After the survey, the Waitemata District Council stated:

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Drawing by John Zambelis.