Western work ethic at odds with native culture

Western work ethic at odds with native culture

The Western work ethic of rewarding individual hard work is at odds with the cultures of New Zealand’s many indigenous groups, according to UQ social science graduate Dr Ruby Welch.

Her 222-page thesis, called We walk into the future backward, includes some of the interviews with more than 200 Maori and Pakehas from 1993-2003. Dr Welch said traditional Western work ideas focused on individual effort and money to acquire material goods, whereas for Maori, their culture governed their economic actions.

She said personal ambition took a step back as success was not measured by one’s job but by one’s standing in the Maori community. Wealth is shared in the whanau (extended family), the hapu (subtribe) and traditional roles of the Marae (village).

Read more: Dr Welch 

Katia Reed

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