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No. 10 (April 1955)
– 49 –

HAWERA—A SOCIAL SURVEY

Some people in Hawera thought a community centre would make a good war memorial, and this is a report of the survey conducted by a team of Wellington social scientists, which will be used as a guide in planning a building to provide facilities for community activities. Open it at almost any page and you will be nearly blinded by a dazzling array of figures. But don't let this put you off. Take a closer look and you will find nothing unfamiliar. The figures stand for commonplace matters, like how many husbands in Hawera help their wives wash the dishes. It seems a round-about way of getting such simple information, and althogh the figures are impressive, their value depends on the honesty and co-operation of the people who answered the interviewer's questions in the first place. It's amazing what people will say when they have to answer a list of questions on the spot. However, the report is a good example of the methods of social scientists, and as a guide to planning a community centre for Hawera it should prove invaluable.

One of the most interesting sections of the report is the Maori survey—an excellent comparison of Maori and pakeha groups living in the same area under similar conditions. Certain matters not related to erecting a community centre are only mentioned in passing, but they suggest a whole field of inquiry which sane able research students might care to follow up. For instance, instead of observing what Maoris do, how about discovering how Maoris feel about what they do Such a study may explain why ‘the chief disgrace to the town according to many of the Maoris interviewed is the state of Maori/pakeha relationship’, while no pakeha included it anywhere on his list of disgraces.

—J. C. Sturm