Ethnic identity and criminal offending in a New Zealand birth cohort

Dannette Marie, David Fergusson, Joseph Boden

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12 Citations (Scopus)


There has been a great deal of debate and speculation regarding the high levels of involvement of Maori New Zealanders in the criminal justice system. The present investigation examined the role of Maoricultural identity in predicting criminal offending in a New Zealand birth cohort studied from birth to the age of 21. There were statistically significant (p < .0001) bivariate associations between both sole Maori identification and Maori/other cultural identification, and both (a) official convictions for property/violent offending during ages 17–21 and (b) selfreported violent and property offending during ages 17–21. Control for a range of potentially confounding factors related to family socioeconomic status, family functioning and personal adjustment reduced the associations between sole Maori identity and criminal offending to statistical nonsignificance (both p values > .40). However, the association between Maori/other cultural identity and criminal offending remained statistically significant (both p values < .05) after control for confounding. The findings suggest that while sole Maori cultural identification is not associated with increased rates of criminal offending, persons of Maori/other cultural identification are at increased risk of violent and property offending.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)354-368
Number of pages16
JournalThe Australian & New Zealand Journal of Criminology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009


  • ethnic identity
  • criminal offending
  • longitudinal study
  • New Zealand Maori
  • cultural-values
  • convictions
  • adjustment
  • health


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