top of page

Subscribe Form

Thanks for submitting!


LINDSAY MITCHELL: The case for cultural connectedness

A recent report generated from a Growing Up in New Zealand (GUiNZ) survey of 1,224 rangatahi Māori aged 11-12 found:

Cultural connectedness was associated with fewer depression symptoms, anxiety symptoms and better quality of life. 

That sounds cut and dry. But further into the report the following appears:

Cultural connectedness is important for mental wellbeing, however it may not support depression and anxiety symptoms and quality of life in exactly the same way.


The group of children was divided into three sub-groups determined by their degree of ‘structural disadvantage’ (material hardship, severe housing deprivation/homelessness, and food insecurity): persistently low, intermittently high and persistently high.

The following chart shows the greater the cultural connectedness is (horizontal axis) the higher the anxiety symptoms are (vertical axis) for the persistently low (yellow) and persistently high (blue) disadvantaged groups.

There is no attempt by the authors of the paper to explain why this may be the case.

What they do say is, “…the paper makes an important contribution by exploring whether cultural connectedness buffers the harms caused by structural disadvantage on rangatahi mental wellbeing.”

Based on the above finding cultural connectedness exacerbates the harm, at least in respect of anxiety symptoms.  

The relationships between disadvantage and a/depression and b/ quality of life are also explored showing positive correlations BUT:

… none of these relationships were significant, indicating that cultural connectedness did not have a buffering effect on depression symptoms. There was also no significant buffering effect of cultural connectedness on quality of life scores for rangatahi Māori.

Obviously disappointed in what they describe as “mixed evidence” the authors suggest, “this finding is not surprising as it would be unreasonable to expect that having a strong sense of identity and feelings of belonging in early adolescence might undo generations of harm caused by colonialism and racism and the multiple and interacting structural disadvantages that play out in the lives of rangatahi Māori.”

Having established cultural connectedness has no demonstrable usefulness as a buffer against adolescent depression or anxiety the authors then change tack and argue another reason for its importance:

Achieving the government’s vision … requires actions that will enable rangatahi Māori to develop a strong cultural connectedness not as a resilience or coping strategy but rather as part of a broader Treaty-compliant, pro-equity, anti-racist and human rights-based approach. Anti-racism action will require a commitment to invest in strategies that will systematically dismantle the structures that contribute to inequities in rangatahi Māori mental wellbeing (1,21). This paper provides new insights into the powerful potential of policies that address structural disadvantage and enable rangatahi Māori to flourish in their identity as Māori.

The paper provides nothing of the sort.

What it does provide is evidence that the GUiNZ study has been captured by politicised academics pushing their own racist agenda.

The future funding for GUiNZ is currently under a question mark. According to RNZ, “The current uncertainty over funding for the study comes amid wider fears about science funding.”

Science? You be the judge.

Lindsay Mitchell blogs here

3,017 views133 comments


Lindsay, did I miss something? What is the evidence you found that shows that the GUiNZ study has been captured by politicised academics pushing their own racist agenda? Was it a statistically significant relationship?

Replying to

A “ring of truth” about her comments validates my claim that she has no data to back up that particular conclusion. Just think about what I’ve said if you feel the need to reply


There is one fairly significant culture that does not get much respect these days.

It is the culture that gave us the scientific method, the age of reason, the concept of equal natural rights, medical diagnosis and therapy based on understanding anatomy, physiology and pathology, a system of government by the people called Democracy, the Industrial revolution, all the modern technologies that enrich our lives and have provided public safety and prosperity for ordinary people as well as the privileged elites. That culture is called Western Culture. It is the basis of all the amazing things that modern people take for granted but is threatened with destruction by socialist busybodies and deluded "woke" academics. It's good to respect peoples' ancestry and cultur…

Replying to

“Stop complaining….. and do a days work”


Science? More like a crock of contrived crap. Thanks for exposing this BS Lindsay.

These types of studies are agenda driven. And results twisted to suit the desired narrative. It’s qualitatively biased insofar as they say how they feel about x, y or z. Akin to when brown people are asked ‘have you ever experienced racism?’ The results always skewing the way the author wants (A ‘yes’ answer given because ‘the security guard kept an eye on me’. Ok, sure, but was it because he hates brown people or because you dressed like a thug and acted furtively? Dunno.)

If I might also posit, any ‘cleaving to culture’ research should probably first understand just what that ‘culture’ is. For i…


Apr 14

Maybe they should try connecting with the largest percentage of their cultural heritage. For the majority, that will not be Maori.

That could also save the country a whole lot of money.

Replying to

Yep, depriving Māori of their culture is going to solve all their problems. Depriving them of their land saved the country a whole lot of money too.


Ironically, the same children and others who are being "culturally connected" on an institutional scale by contrived means, are being connected selectively regarding percentages of ancestry of 25% or 12.5% or even lower; simultaneous with the trashing of the heritage of which we were all once proud and which drew us together. We were all proud of Sir Apirana Ngata; now it is allegedly "white supremacy" to distribute his famous book! Same goes for quoting Martin Luther King on the subject of "the inheritance of universal enlightenment values".

bottom of page