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Social Inclusion in New Zealand: a rapid evidence review

This rapid evidence review was commissioned in 2019 to summarise evidence about the process of building social inclusion in Aotearoa New Zealand.

In the New Zealand context, the term Social Inclusion refers to the degree to which communities:

  • embrace diversity and ensure that all people feel recognised and accepted;
  • are free from prejudice and discrimination; and
  • have the resources, skills and knowledge to meaningfully participate in society.

New Zealand is unique in a number of ways that are important to keep in mind when interpreting and applying the evidence about social inclusion, especially from overseas. The nation’s bicultural foundations, the historical and ongoing injustices towards Tangata Whenua, and the evolving Māori-Crown partnership, are fundamental to understanding social inclusion in the New Zealand context.

Key findings

The review identifies evidence for six important ways to help make New Zealand more socially inclusive:

  1. Fostering common values and inclusive social norms.
  2. Encouraging and facilitating positive interactions between diverse groups.
  3. Tackling harms to inclusion, including prejudice, discrimination and other harmful behaviours.
  4. Supporting people to have the knowledge and skills they need to participate.
  5. Supporting people to have a voice and feel heard.
  6. Reducing inequality and improving opportunities for people by providing support and resources.