People of Pacific Island descent are the lowest paid workers in the country.
Now the Human Rights Commission is launching an inquiry into why that is exactly - examining equal pay, pay parity and pay equity issues and the extent of what it says is discrimination against Pasifika employees.
The announcement of an inquiry comes simultaneously with the launch of a report, Talanoa: Human Rights issues for Pacific peoples in Aotearoa New Zealand, after discussions in 2018 and last year.
"If we don't act now, we continue to fail every Pacific child, adult and household denying their right to live with dignity," equal employment opportunities commissioner Saunoamaali'i Karanina Sumeo says.
The latest labour force data shows the pay gap between Pākehā men and Pasifika women working in the public sector is 27 per cent.
Last year's data showed the gap between the average hourly earnings of a Pacific worker and a New Zealand European colleague was 23 per cent - a $7.48 difference.
Sumeo said the report had allowed them to hear directly from Pasifika workers about the human rights violations they are experiencing in the workforce.
Not enough to set up a savings account
"These workers also fear retaliation in raising concerns with their employers. This is racist and discriminatory," she said.
"At the current rate of progress, it will take Pacific women 120 years to reach pay equity with Pākehā men."
"In addition to low wages, Pacific workers say they are often overlooked for upskilling opportunities and promotions.
Other issues highlighted in the report were the flow-on effect of the pay gap; like how low wages impacted families and the ability to create a better life.
Participants described difficulties such as securing tier one or prime finance such as a bank mortgage to buy a family home.
Even setting up a savings account was a difficult thing to do for some.
Others pinpointed how hard it was to fulfill finance agreements to full-term - something that often then impacted credit reporting scores.
The inquiry will focus on people working in manufacturing, retail, trade and the accommodation sector around New Zealand.
Other aspects of it will look into working conditions, recruitment and the retention of Pasifika employees as they impact equal job opportunities.
'It must end with us'
Sumeo says the marginalisation of Pacific workers had been "persistent and chronic" for many years.
"The inequities continue to widen against a backdrop and history of racial discrimination against Pacific peoples," she said.
"We cannot continue to tolerate this level of inequity. It must end with us."
The inquiry is due to start early next year and will be carried out over a period of 12 months before recommendations are given.
The commission says it hopes to make recommendations on changes to legislation, policies and regulations, procedures, practices and funding arrangements in both the public and private sectors in a bid to reduce pay gaps.