Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Benevolent racism; Pākehā attitudes and Māori men’s experiences

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posted on 2021-08-12, 03:11 authored by Ruben, Anna-Frances

Benevolent racism, racism that is expressed through seemingly positive beliefs and emotional responses, is shown to play an insidious role in upholding negative racial stereotypes and inequality. Although a considerable amount of research has been done on racism in Aotearoa New Zealand (ANZ), very little has focused specifically on the prevalence and impacts of benevolent racism. This research comprises two studies to explore the role of benevolent racism in ANZ, focusing specifically on benevolent racism towards Māori men through expressions of their superior athletic and practical/manual skills. Study 1 (N = 312) was an experimental study which used multilevel modelling to predict the effects of benevolent racism on guidance given to a Māori male student. The results showed that as Pākehā endorsement of benevolent racism increased, Pākehā rated practical/manual activities to be increasingly important and school to be decreasingly important for a hypothetical Māori male student. In study 2 (N = 10), interviews explored the experiences of Māori men in ANZ and whether benevolent racism manifested in these experiences. A thematic analysis derived four main themes: Identity and Culture, Challenges, Whānau and Positive Experiences and the results highlighted that participants’ encounters of racism were predominantly of the hostile, rather than benevolent, sort. These findings shed light on the continued role of racism in ANZ and how it is linked to other aspects of Māori men’s experiences. These studies also highlight the need for a bottom-up exploration of the profile and functions of benevolent racism in ANZ.


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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Science

Victoria University of Wellington Unit

Centre for Applied Cross-Cultural Research

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Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Psychology


McNamara, Rita; Neha, Tia