Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga’s Te Arotahi series provides expert thought, research and focus to a specific critical topic area to support discussion, policy and positive action. Te Arotahi will be delivered as an occasional paper series. 1 te Arotahi Series Paper MAY 2019 - 02 I INTRODUCTION This paper purposefully focuses on the lived experiences of precariat whānau and those who work alongside them in order to create more humane understandings of the socio- economically marginalised people in Aotearoa New Zealand. In contrast to widespread assumptions about precariat whānau, our research reveals a “hidden life” of agentive negotiation, navigation and survival. Seeing through the eyes of whānau living precarious and impoverished lives is crucial if systemic change and effective policy responses are to be made. The concept of “the precariat” as laid out by Standing (2011) informs our contextual understandings of socio-economically marginalised whānau in Aotearoa and directs our attention towards what effective policy and practice responses to poverty and inequalities in Aotearoa should look like. Seeking to support transformation and to hold the public sector accountable for the effectiveness of its policies, programmes and services, we seek to reorient the attention of policy and decision makers towards cultivating more humane understandings of whānau in need. Such understandings directly challenge the current all-pervading focus on “penal welfare” (see Hodgetts & Stolte, 2017) and the persistent stigmatising, marginalising and dehumanising discourse and practice which surrounds those in need. This reorientation is fundamental to changing policy decisions and practices so as to address the structural changes required to expose and effectively address the underlying causes of poverty and inequality in Aotearoa. The need to reorient policy to cultivate more humane understandings of whānau in need Aotearoa New Zealand is now the fifth most unequal economy in the OECD. To highlight the human cost of this situation, the concept of “the precariat” offers more informed and contextualised understandings of the situations of socio-economically marginalised people in Aotearoa. Significant societal and policy change is required for Māori whānau to be truly free from the cycle of precarity. Precariat Māori households today He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata. What is the greatest thing in the world? It is people, people, people. Mohi Rua (Tūhoe, Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Whakaue) University of Waikato 1 Darrin Hodgetts Massey University Ottilie Stolte University of Waikato Delta King (Ngāti Pikiao) Māori & Psychology Research Unit Bill Cochrane University of Waikato Thomas Stubbs Royal Holloway University of London Rolinda Karapu (Ngāti Awa, Tūhoe) Waikato Women’s Refuge Te Whakaruruhau, Hamilton Eddie Neha (Ngāti Maniapoto) Te Whare o Te Ata: Fairfield Community House, Hamilton Kerry Chamberlain Massey University Tiniwai Te Whetu (Tūhoe) Māori & Psychology Research Unit Ngahuia Te Awekotuku (Te Arawa, Tūhoe, Waikato) Māori & Psychology Research Unit Jarrod Harr ( Ngāti Maniapoto) Auckland University of Technology Shiloh Groot (Te Arawa) University of Auckland