Literacy and Life Skills for Māori Adults: Further Investigation: Results from the Adult Literacy and Life Skills (ALL) Survey

Publication Details

This report, which complements Literacy and Life Skills for Maori Adults, investigates the extent to which the distribution of literacy among Maori adults is associated with a range of potential explanatory factors.

Author(s): Paul Satherley and Elliot Lawes, Research Division, Ministry of Education.

Date Published: August 2009

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This report is available as a download (please refer to the 'Downloads' inset box).  To view the individual chapters please refer to the 'Sections' inset box.  For links to related publications/ information that may be of interest please refer to the 'Where to Find Out More' inset box.

Section 3: Background

Document literacy is the skill of understanding and using discontinuous text forms such as graphs, charts, tables or diagrams. Document literacy was selected for this report because of its particular importance as a work-related skill in many different types of jobs and workplaces.

Document literacy skills for Mäori adults are positively associated with factors including:

  • higher educational attainment
  • being employed
  • having high income and
  • having income from wages or salaries.

In addition, document literacy skills are also associated with age (those in the middle age groups – 25-44-years-olds – have higher skills), and with gender (women have slightly higher skills on average). A selection of graphs that illustrate these relationships, taking factors one at a time, is located in Appendix 2. They are similar to graphs included in Literacy and Life Skills for Mäori Adults where this is discussed in more detail from a single-factor point of view.

Obviously, these factors are themselves linked. For example, on average, people with higher education are more likely to be employed and have higher wages. In addition, people in the 25-60-year age range have a higher labour force participation rate than those younger or older. A question therefore arises about understanding the nature of relationships between skills and these other factors taking different mixes of factors into account together, rather than analysing each one separately.


  1. See Household Labour Force Survey statistics on Statistics New Zealand's website.

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