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Māori in the Depression

Hinaki (eel trap)
Hinaki (eel trap) July 2000, Puketapu, John (1924– ), Wellington. Purchased 2000 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds. Te Papa

During the Great Depression, New Zealanders living in rural communities, like most Maori, were at least able to live off the land. Food-gathering equipment like hinaki (eel traps) helped Maori survive the economic crisis.

Maori and unemployment relief

To be eligible for unemployment relief, which took the form of work schemes, people had to pay an unemployment tax. Officially, Maori were considered too poor to pay this tax. However, thousands did manage to come up with the money. These people could register for, and receive, the government help available.

© Copyright Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, New Zealand.