Maori heading to Australia with dreams of "milk and honey" should only do so if they have the means to return if things don't work out, the Maori Party is warning.
Australia is a popular destination for Maori, with close to 20 per cent of the population estimated to be living there. Many had been successful but Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia said the party had fielded calls from church and social service groups in various parts of the country, saying many others were struggling to cope.
She also said calls were fielded asking for assistance in getting the bodies of deceased returned home.
"There's no state funding for that and whanau should really be taking out insurance or setting aside a putea (fund) for that," she said.
"They should also have a back-up plan and enough money put away in case they don't get a job and need to come home."
Mrs Turia said it was frustrating to hear about cases where people didn't have enough funds to fly home and community groups in Australia had to dig into their own pockets to help out.
Maori needed to realise they were not tangata whenua in Australia and therefore not entitled to most of the services there unless they got permanent residency or dual citizenship.
"Our people must do the proper checks with the Australian authorities before making the decision to move over."
"I commend those whanau who have made the move and are providing for their whanau, but I can not reiterate enough how important it is for those considering going over to thoroughly research what they might be in for."