Pacific peoples are paid significantly lower than Pākehā, and the Human Rights Commission is speaking out.
According to the Pacific Pay Gap Inquiry, for every dollar a Pākehā man makes, a Pacific man makes 76 cents, and a Pacific woman makes 73 cents.
Pay equity campaign Mind The Gap launched this week and according to its registry, only seven businesses across NZ are transparent on the pay gap for Pasifika.
The evidence shows on average that the pay gap for Pasifika in these businesses is more than 20 per cent.
Men working in the Public Service are paid more than women in each ethnic group, and Pākehā are paid more than other ethnicities.
Pacific women and Pacific men have the lowest average salaries in the Public Service, although they received the largest pay increases of $4000 (5.6 per cent) and $3700 (5.4 per cent).
It still doesn't come close to what they are eligible to earn.
For the same job, a NZ European man on average can make $97,500 a year, whereas a Pacific woman in the same line of work would earn $71,000.
The Pacific pay gap has fallen from 19.5 per cent in 2020 to 17.9 per cent in 2021. For Pacific, the gender pay gap is 21.6 per cent.
Pacific public servants are over-represented in lower-paid occupation groups.
Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Saunoamaali'i Karanina Sumeo told the Herald if changes aren't made now, the gap will take 120 years to close.
The current Equal Pay Act focuses on sex and sex only, not gender, not disability and not ethnicities.
It implies that discrimination towards gender, disabilities and ethnicities are allowed or can continue.
"We have a problem with our Equal Pay Act," Sumeo said.
"But I'm seeing a number of Pasifika in positions of influence who won't tolerate this crap.
"If our country believes in equity and fairness, then it should be easy to bring a law that supports equal pay."
A move towards transparency for pay gaps in Aotearoa and achieving equal pay for Pasifika is about making salaries and equal opportunities transparent.
"If you're putting out an ad for a job, include the salary," Sumeo said.
"It signals that you're trying to be fair, it signals your values around equity. For some business owners, transparency is your competitive advantage.
"How can you have fair pay if you don't know what the pay is?"
Sumeo says NZ's aspirations to reflect the communities it serves must recognise that Pacific cultural identity is an economic asset.
"It's an asset in which where we benefit, our businesses benefit, and our economy benefits."
If there's a promotion opportunity, be transparent about it with your employees - it is otherwise a violation of the law.
"The lack of transparency about promotional opportunities, ring-fences the opportunities to the networks of the people offering it. Therefore, it violates the right of everyone else to equal employment opportunities.
"It's always been done, people think it's okay. But it doesn't make it right."
Sumeo says an establishment of an independent agency (for both public and private sectors) which explores pay gaps can help businesses to reflect on what they can do better.
"We need to make it easy for everybody to do the right thing. Take the weight off the vulnerable workers who fight power and fight the system for their rights."
Dr Ella Henry, who advocates for pay equity for Māori, told the Herald pay gaps are a fundamental outcome of patriarchy, which came to this country with colonisation.
"Transparency and openness about salaries and working conditions are critical components of equity," she said.
"I would like to think that equity, fairness and openness are the hallmarks of Māori organisations underpinned by tikanga, but that is probably not true of all organisations owned or governed by Māori."
Sumeo has a similar view for Pasifika businesses and adds: "Colonisation has had a significant impact in our sense of worth. It gets transferred from one generation to another.
"What I'm seeing is that [Pacific businesses] are the same. Men are paid more than woman and the boards are not taking up the responsibility of pay equity based on gender.
"There's a perception that to be successful, you need to be white and male and it is entrenched in our communities that a male should be in charge.
"We need to challenge that and lift the silence."
Sumeo acknowledges the need to close the pay gap for tangata whenua and which is "completely appropriate".
"Pacific peoples are not on the same wavelength. The data suggests we are more at a disadvantage."