Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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New Zealanders’ Attitudes towards Biculturalism in Aotearoa New Zealand

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posted on 2021-10-20, 02:36 authored by McSweeney-Novak, Maija

New Zealand’s aspiration to be a bicultural nation, has yet to be realised. Māori continue to experience discrimination across all life domains. Research published in 2004, reported New Zealanders as being more supportive of symbolic than resource-based biculturalism. However, socio-political changes, the absence of research examining New Zealanders’ Treaty knowledge, and implicit racial biases towards Māori, suggest an update of this work is needed. Across two studies, this research aimed to investigate New Zealanders’ attitudes towards biculturalism in Aotearoa New Zealand. In Study 1, New Zealand born undergraduates (N = 56), completed the Implicit Association Test, a Pākehā Attitudes Towards Biculturalism Scale, a Treaty of Waitangi knowledge scale and estimated their declared Treaty of Waitangi knowledge. Study 2 was designed to replicate Study 1, and address limitations with a larger, more representative sample (N= 100). The Dunning-Kruger effect was also a specific focus. Across both studies, New Zealanders were more supportive of symbolic rather than resource-based biculturalism and showed an implicit racial bias towards Māori. In Study 2, we revealed new empirical evidence for the Dunning-Kruger effect: when estimating their knowledge relative to peers: lower performers over-estimated their knowledge whereas higher performers under-estimated their knowledge. Our results highlight that New Zealanders’ attitudes towards biculturalism have remained relatively unchanged since Sibley and Liu’s (2004) work, and raise concern for the aspirations of New Zealand as a bicultural nation. Implications and future research directions are discussed.


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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Master of Science

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Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Psychology


Neha, Tia; Macaskill, Anna