Older Māori & Housing

Finding the Best Fit - Housing, Downsizing and Older People in a Changing Society

In September 2013 we received news that our good science fund application was successful so our project Finding the Best Fit: Housing, Downsizing and Older People in a Changing Society started in 2014.

Who did the research?

Kay Saville-Smith from the Centre for Research Evaluation & Social Assessment led the research team. Other members of the team included: Dr Bev James, Professor Larry Murphy, Dr Michael Rehm, and Dr Fiona Cram.

What was the research about?

This research was on the practicalities of ‘downsizing’ housing and older people’s functional and financial independence and wellbeing. It was about the decisions older people make about their housing for retirement, and the things that influence these decisions.

Older people may choose to downsize, stay in their current home, move to another location, move home, or move closer to their marae – or perhaps some combination of these and other options. Their decisions might depend on whānau commitments, access to health care, marae and hapū connections and responsibilities, financial circumstances, and other considerations. These are the things this project explored.

Was there a Māori case study?

Fiona Cram (Ngāti Pahauwera) undertook the case study of older Māori. The case study involved interviews with Ngāti Kahungunu pākeke (older Māori) over 65 years of age and other older Maori, and those close to retirement age (50-65 year olds).

Different agencies and organisations were asked to contribute their expertise and knowledge about how older pākeke make decisions about where they will live in older age, and what facilities and supports are available to them in their communities.


Cram, F. (2016). Older Māori: Downsizing experiences, outcomes and needs. Report on the Māori case study for the 'Finding the Best Fit: Housing, Downsizing and Older People in a Changing Society' research project. Auckland: Katoa Ltd. Download it below.

What happened in the Māori case study?

1. Consultation, March-June 2014

Some consultation occurred before the funding proposal was submitted in the middle of 2013. When the funding was confirmed people were contacted again, or for the first time, to get their ideas and feedback about how the research should be done, who should be talked with, and what questions are important to ask. People were also asked about the issues they know about and whether they’d like to be involved in the case study.

2. Hui and interviews, June-November 2014

Interviews with pākeke asked them about their housing decisions, including why they have or haven't 'downsized'. Their other housing moves throughout their lifetimes were explored to find out what informed their decisions to move. We were also interested in how they found the move to their current home, how long it took them to settle in, and whether they were thinking of moving again in the future.

3. Reporting, 2015-16

The draft report for the Māori case study was completed in April 2016. This report was distributed to key stakeholders for feedback and then finalised in November 2016. The Executive Summary can be downloaded below. Contact us if you'd like a full copy.

4. Developing the 'My Home, My Choice' tool, July-August 2016

The findings the research have informed the development of a decision-making tool for those thinking about where they'll live in their older age, or for service providers or family - whānau who want to support older people's housing decision-making.

The 'Finding the Right Fit' tool is available online as well as in a card version. See here for more information.