Diversity Management Issues: Colonialism and Discrimination at Work


The colonization of New Zealand is an inalienable part of its history, culture, and modern lifestyle. Indigenous communes inhabiting the islands originally had a set lifestyle, beliefs, and traditions. The consequences of colonisation influenced every individual of the society, and preventing its negative impacts refers to each citizen walking on the land. Māori people, the native population of New Zealand, have always belonged to this land, and developing respect, tolerance towards them is essential. All colonial communities faced an issue of diversity and discrimination of minor ethnic groups. However, in the modern world when we call each other tolerant and fight for moral principles, it is ridiculous to observe how people close their eyes to racism towards the smaller ethnic communes. Colonialism has remained in every Aotearoa citizen’s heart and fighting against its negative impacts on labour market, racism development and ongoing discrimination is a mutual goal. In this assignment, the impact of colonisation on the current New Zealand labour market will be estimated from the point of workplace diversity issue, its concepts, and theories.

The Impact of Colonisation

To go deeper in understanding of current issues, one should always look back into the past and find major causes influencing on and forming the society. The first visitor of the islands was a Dutch navigator, Abel Tasman. While making effort to land, Tasman’s crew made several trumpet sounds which were interpreted by Māori as an initiative war signal. Some troop members were killed, and Tasman’s crew rushed to leave the land. Later, in the 18th century, English traveller, James Cook sailed through the area and described it in detail. Afterwards, whaling ships, merchants, and missionaries followed Cook, and in 1840 Britain took the lands. The same year, Māori signed the treatment of Waitangi, agreeing on British sovereignty in return for assured possession of the lands. Nevertheless, a variety of territorial conflicts took place on the islands for at least three decades until Māori remained a few. Nowadays, New Zealand is an independent developed country; still, Pākehā (Europeans) dominate in rights and freedom having a bias attitude towards a minor indigenous group.

It is comfortable for every country with a history of colonisation to claim that aborigines needed fresh ideas of civilisation, a set of rules, and a better structure of society. Nevertheless, all these ideas are used by colonisers to reject the destructive consequences of the culture, beliefs, and lifestyle of native people. Stating Māori should appreciate the civilisation brought to the land, the progress, the education is absurd as their settlers did not demand any foreign help, at least none was required. Māori had already had a set of rules and laws by the time Europeans arrived. They came through a harsh way from possessing the land to barely owning a tiny piece of it, losing their language, status in society, being underemployed, and undereducated.

The destructive behaviour is hidden by the idea that savages needed development is nothing else than defamation. Nowadays, perceiving Māori as potential rebels, limiting them in rights, putting them under arrest is followed by racism and intolerance towards the native population of New Zealand. Chris Trotter called current interconnections between diverse populations a “racist construction of the Māori-Pākehā relationship” (para. 6). Facing reality is a major step in the way of accepting the errors of the previous generations and making a new life without bias attitudes, racism, and discrimination. If people dare to talk about morality, destroying the borders of misbeliefs and historical stereotypes is the first action to be done.

In modern society, people observe a great tendency of developing Māori’s self-confidence, proudness in their culture, and accepting their identity. It is a significant step towards changes of the ethnic group as studying the history of ancestors, learning the language, and improving self-esteem can help the community get away from old beliefs and stereotypes. A so-called Māori Renaissance becomes stronger with the struggle and activism for self-determination politically, economically, and culturally (Henry, 2015). Accepting and finding identity is essential for each individual as having a feeling of belonging somewhere is interconnected with cultural well-being and future success. Society needs confident and strong people to achieve goals, to have access to decent education and quality of life, to bring profits to the economy. Supporting Māori and perceiving them equally, without any diversity, is a major step towards a better future.

Pākehā, despite the fact of being colonisers, also feel a loss of individuality and struggle because of consequences of previous events. Colonisation influences both Māori and Pākehā as neither of the groups felt attached to the land within years, the interrelations have tension due to historical events. It is also essential to comprehend that colonisers do not feel that they belong to the place they once moved to. In previous times, the new European settlers relocated due to poverty and harsh living conditions from such areas as Ireland, Scotland, and Britain. Moving to another land required leaving close relatives, throwing yourself into the hands of an unknown future.

Landing on the new territory, colonisers already felt that it belonged to the other group of people. Nowadays, Europeans underline the proudness and sympathy to the islands; however, they do not feel related to them, as they lack identity (Kiddle, 2020). Marginalisation through several decades, a feeling of guilt and separation with the native population psychologically can depress colonisers and their descendants. Such self-awareness can be transferred via genetic code, influence future generations, and several types of research have proven that (Kiddle, 2020). Denying the issue of colonisation is improper for every Aotearoa citizen as it has put a negative impact on each inhabitant of the land.

Understanding the history of the land one lives in and the subsequent nature of interrelations can help enhance modern society and economics by solving important issues of diversity, racism, bias towards each other. Colonisation interferes with up-to-date life, complicates employment of minorities, limits talented people from self-development, education, and labour market. Equality can lead to a happier and more successful community, economic growth, and the flourishing of the country and its citizens.

Workplace Diversity Issue

The modern behavioural model between Māori and Pākehā raises the issue of diversity which is a spectrum of human differences that makes them unique. Diversity includes a variety of characteristics that can be formed into four groups: internal, external, organised, and worldview. Internal diversity correlates with racism as it covers congenital characteristics such as race, ethnicity, age, cultural identity, national origin, and other non-changeable aspects. Having prejudices towards employees because of their skin colour, traditions, or beliefs is an outcome of upbringing and education levels. The differences between workers should not be influencing their job status and career promotion. The internal diversity follows every citizen of Aotearoa and initiates the specific bias and non-recognition that prevent talented people bring positive results at work.

External diversity includes personal interests, thoughts, opinions, education, citizenship, religious beliefs, socioeconomic status, and many other features a man forms within life. External diversity takes place in modern societies and separates New Zealand populations. It is commonly believed that Māori will always be uneducated, unemployed, have issues with the law and medical insurances. However, none of the humans has a right to decide a trolley dilemma. Individuals cannot suppress the minority, infringe their rights as no one ever knows how significant minority can be. Its opinions and impact on society can develop a modern set of rules and influence working atmosphere. Each minor group should have similar access to education and employment as the majority has.

Diversity in the working place, or so-called functional diversity, involves job role, place of work, employment status, seniority, and other aspects at work. According to the study of Glass Ceilings in New Zealand Universities estimated Māori and Pacific female academics earn $7700 less on average than non-Māori and Pacific men and were 65% less preferred to be employed as assistant of the professor or the professor (Wiltshire, 2020). There should be some limits put on discrimination of the minor population as it influences life and further progress of the human. The study by Houkamau et al. (2020) proved that among 1790 Māori at least 43% reported experiencing discrimination on average or high levels.

To enhance the current occasion with Māori employment, both government and society should correct acts allowing the minority to enter universities and have easy access to education and occupation. As one of the examples of Māori culture infringement and development is the incident with Waikato University that three years ago started aiming to turn its Māori and Indigenous studies from a faculty into school (Māori academics allege structural racism with Waikato University, 2020). Along with lower payments to Māori staff, firing the talented worker representing the minor group, and providing no indigenous advancement strategy made six academics write a 13-page letter seeking protection and justice (Māori academics allege structural racism with Waikato University, 2020). Racism and domination of minority are the features of undeveloped, limited, and choked with power man. The institutions providing knowledge and educating young Māori to understand the details of their ancestors is essential for the self-determination of native groups of people. Saving and enhancing schools and educational programs for Māori citizens must be central in the sociocultural politics of the country.

Worldview diversity is the one that distinguishes people with political beliefs, moral principles, the general perception of life. Understanding all the possible differences between humans can help smoothen the relationships between each other and lead to a higher level of attention and sympathy. Being able to absorb, filtrate, and accept diverse data from the other one, develops critical thinking, tolerance, and better interconnections between people at work and in various areas of life.

Diversity Theories

Looking deeper into diversity theories, the current issue can be explained by stereotypes theory when a person generalizes knowledge about a group of people that leads to discrimination and bias. Education, broader historical awareness can help New Zealanders avoid being captured by stereotypes. Developing respect for Māori and other culturally different groups can help them enhance self-esteem and show better results at work. What people should aim to, is a cognitive diversity hypothesis claiming numerous perspectives united from various cultures result in creativity, innovative thinking, and talented outcomes. No one needs to change or to become equal to some standard. Uniqueness and exceptional qualities should be the engine of the working atmosphere. Paying attention to peoples’ diversity can improve the outcomes of the company and bring profits to society.

Current Labour Market

Discussed historical and sociocultural prerequisites to workplace diversity are essential in the way of comprehending the modern labour market situation. According to the data provided by the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (2020), the unemployed number of Māori people increased comparatively with 2019 at 9.9%. The unemployment rate has also grown to 9.0% (up 0.6pp within the last year). The major increases in unemployment were for Māori aged between 15 and 24, and 35 to 54 years. The data shows poor involvement of the working-age Māori population in employment. According to a study by Cormack et al. (2019), discrimination mostly occurred among Māori people at schools and in working places. One of the diversity features leads to a negative Māori’s perception of the working atmosphere and common attitude. To enhance the employment rate of young and productive society, several actions from the government should be taken to involve employees in work. Such actions may be various privileges to Māori people during employment procedures, special grants, and bonuses encouraging them to enter universities and get a higher amount of knowledge.

The diversity also affects the medical help provided to minorities. According to the study by McLeod et al. (2020), COVID-19 might negatively and unequally influence Māori’s health as previous data of the influenza pandemic in 2009 corresponds to the statement. The authors of the research do not deny the existing health care racism towards Māori, and they suggest taking into consideration limited healthcare and discrimination against this group of people (McLeod et al., 2020). Taking care of ethnic health and providing corresponding treatment is essential for Māori’s survival and well-being. Diversity issues penetrate in everyday life on all the possible levels: individual, attaching self-esteem and identity certainty; organisational involving employment, job satisfaction, career promotion of minor ethnic groups. On a bigger scale, diversion affects New Zealanders in macro level with socioeconomic and cultural beliefs spreading stereotypes and influencing interconnections between people of one country.


Thus, the history and development of Aotearoa people have influenced the modern population and its identity. Colonisation has put a negative impact on the modern population: native inhabitants lost their language, authority, and life quality; new settlers tend to carry through generation feeling of guilt, lack of personality, and belonging somewhere. These events lay in the basement of diversity issues influencing modern labour market instability and low employment rate among minor groups of people. To enhance the situation, people need to put attention away from stereotypes and racism towards cognitive diversity hypothesis using it as an advantage of inequality. Focusing on mutual needs and benefits, individuals can achieve better employment rates, economic outcomes, and mutual success in general. Developing respect and care towards Māori is essential as it leads to improvement on personal, social, and governmental levels.


Chris Trotter. (2018). Racism and colonisation are inseparable twins. Stuff. Web.

Cormack, D., Harris, R., & Stanley, J. (2019). Māori experiences of multiple forms of discrimination: Findings from Te Kupenga 2013. Kotuitui: New Zealand Journal of Social Sciences Online, 15(1), 106-122. Web.

Henry, E. (2015). Impacts of colonization on modern Māori culture. [Video]. Web.

Houkamau, C. A., Stronge, S., & Sibley, C. G. (2020). The prevalence and impact towards indigenous Māori in New Zealand. International Perspectives in Psychology, 6(2), 1-10. Web.

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Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment. (2021). Māori labour market trends. Web.

Wiltshire, L. (2020). It’s not about bias, it’s racism: Study highlights inequality at NZ universities. Stuff. Web.

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