Any discussion of the distribution of the Maori population invites comment on the manner of their employment.
As is shown from the map, the concentrations of Maori population are at a distance from the centres of employment, a fact which is already causing some anxiety because of the high rate of increase in the rural Maori labour force – one even now with some underemployment. Concern at the trend was shown as long ago as 1948 when an inter-departmental (Government) committee discussed the pros and cons of decentralising industry. The basis of the proposal was the assumption that the rural labour force would, by the nature of its composition, be more stable than one recruited in the towns. But the major difficulty then, as now, was the uneconomic process of moving raw materials from the centres of distribution to the rural labour, and the return of the product back to the centres of consumption. The alternative, administrative action, would involve meeting the accommodation and social needs of some several thousand migrants each year, and this in turn would create new social problems in urban areas.
It is difficult to gauge changes in the occupational distribution of the Maori people because statistics kept by Government Departments at various times lack a common base. For all that, the statistics are a sound enough guide to show that between 1936 and 1956 primary industry and secondary industry have changed places as avenues of employment. The number of Maoris engaged in farming, etc., has fallen from 45·30 per cent, to 2676 per cent in 20 years, while the number of Maoris engaged as craftsmen, production process workers, etc., has increased from 36·86 per cent to 4190 per cent.
A comparison between Maori and European incomes (including women) taken from the 1961 census is also worthy of some note:
|2,000 ahd over||1·6||7·2|