Heke Tangata can broadly be translated as `migration of the people', and in this book economist Brian Easton tracks the major relocations Maori have made into the cities and market economy since 1945. The book's first part provides a narrative of the post-war Maori experience while the second part gives the statistical basis, covering areas including criminal justice, demography, education, employment, health, housing, incomes and wealth. The picture that emerges is stark: Maori remain a generation behind Pakeha in economic well-being. Concise, impartial and pulling no punches, Heke Tangata represents a core text for policy discussion and general understanding of Maori economic participation in contemporary Aotearoa/New Zealand.
Over the years, Dr Brian Easton has worked on Maori issues as a social statistician characterising the state of the population, as an economist working for iwi on claims, as an historian integrating the Maori story into the total New Zealand narrative, and as a policy analyst. He has researched and written extensively on many aspects of New Zealand's economy, history and society, and is an honorary fellow or adjunct professor at six New Zealand universities. A public commentator, he writes a regular blog for Pundit and is currently writing Not in Narrow Seas, a history of New Zealand from a political economy perspective.