Pasifika mothers who gamble are putting their children at risk of becoming part of a generation of addicts, an Auckland University of Technology study reveals.

The research released today was part of the longitudinal Pacific Islands Families (PIF) Study that interviewed 923 mothers and 931 children aged 14.

It showed that two-thirds of the children and mothers surveyed, in 2014, were worried about the time or money that they spent gambling.

The study found that 54 per cent of the children had gambled at least once in their lifetime, and 3.7 per cent were found to be problem-gamblers.


In comparison, 52 per cent of the mothers had gambled in the year prior to data collection in 2014 but only 0.7 percent were classified as problem gamblers.

Risk factors for gambling participation among mothers included alcohol consumption, being a victim or perpetrator of verbal aggression, and increased deprivation levels.

Dr Maria Bellringer, lead author of the report and Associate Director of AUT's Gambling and Addictions Research Centre, said mothers' gambling behaviours influenced those of their children.

"Adult education and public health campaigns are vital to stem the negative effects of gambling and its transfer across generations," Bellringer said.

Dr El-Shadan Tautolo, Director of the PIF Study, said the data highlighted the need to better support Pasifika mothers, particularly those recently settled in New Zealand.

"We need to put measures in place to support people to retain or strengthen their Pasifika culture while building a sense of connection to New Zealand culture and society," Tautolo said.

He said he was mindful of the intergenerational implications across families and, as the data is collected from a large cluster of essentially Pacific family units.

Tautolo said the consequences for the wider Pacific community could be enormous.


"Clearly there needs to be a comprehensive strategy to tackle problematic gambling and related harms for Pacific people."

"We know that bullying and gang involvement are risk factors for gambling," he said.

Where to get help:

• Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand
or call 0800 66 42 62

• Gambling Problem Helpline
or call 0800 654 655