Maori and Pasifika New Zealanders are less likely to use the internet with 14 per cent of people being non-users, compared to 7 per cent of New Zealand Europeans and 3 per cent of Asians.
This is according to the 2013 World Internet Project New Zealand (WIPNZ) Report, which is part of the international World Internet Project. It was completed by AUT's Institute of Culture, Discourse and Communication, and funded by InternetNZ and the National Library at the Department of Internal Affairs.
"The report shows a 'digital divide' exists, particularly for Mori, Pasifika, those in rural areas, and those on lower household incomes. It shows it has a significant impact on people and their ability to participate in society. Government has an important role in addressing these issues.
National Library, for example, provides free Internet access and content to public libraries and supports educators to encourage digital literacy and learning. "We will work with Archives New Zealand to meet New Zealanders' digital content needs in the future," said Internal Affairs' deputy chief executive Sue Powell.
The report also found that 70 per cent of the surveyed Kiwis were accessing the Internet via a mobile device at least some of the time, and the internet was used as a tool to enable consumer decision making. Around 94 per cent reported looking for product information online and 85 per cent used it to compare prices.
Overall 81 per cent of respondents reported the internet as a major source of information, with only 56 per cent valuing it as a source of entertainment. Around 64 per cent of Kiwis said they made and received calls over the Internet, and just over a third of users stated that they were using the cloud to store or share files.
"With Internet use in New Zealand almost reaching saturation point, it is interesting to see how technology such as iPads, smartphones, gaming consoles and other wireless devices are influencing people's behaviour.
"Seventy per cent of users surveyed in this study said they accessed the Internet with a hand-held mobile device at least some of the time. This enables them to find and share information, and communicate with each other 'anywhere, anytime'," said AUT University's Professor Allan Bell, lead researcher on the WIPNZ.