Indigenous Māori perspectives on urban transport patterns linked to health and wellbeing

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Abstract

There is a growing body of research linking urban transport systems to inequities in health. However, there is a lack of research providing evidence of the effect of transport systems on indigenous family wellbeing. We examined the connections between urban transport and the health and wellbeing of Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand. We provide an indigenous exploration of current urban transport systems, with a particular focus on the impacts of car dependence and the need for culturally relevant travel. We interviewed nineteen Māori participants utilising qualitative research techniques underpinned by an indigenous research methodology (Kaupapa Māori). The data highlighted the importance of accessing cultural activities and sites relevant to ‘being Māori’, and issues with affordability and safety of public transport. Understanding the relationship between indigenous wellbeing and transport systems that goes further than limited discourses of inequity is essential to improving transport for indigenous wellbeing. Providing an indigenous voice in transport decision-making will make it more likely that indigenous health and wellbeing is prioritised in transport planning.

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