Agencies helping unemployed Pacific people say many lack the training and skills to compete in the job market, despite the fact that there are jobs out there.
Statistics New Zealand figures show the number of Pacific unemployed rose to nearly 19,000 in between June and September - a rate of 25.6%, more than twice the national average.
InWork director Adrian Roberts says many Pacific jobseekers are ill-prepared to compete in the job market.
High youth unemployment, nearly 30%, is because many tend to leave school early and don't go on to further training.
And he says older Pacific workers who've been laid off from low-skilled jobs in manufacturing, have not got transferable skills.
Mr Roberts says Pacific jobseekers often struggle with English and lack computer skills to fill out job applications online. And they're often shy about promoting themselves to an employer.
Auckland Council Pacific advisory panel member Filemoni Timoteo says Pacific unemployment's been at twice the national average for the past decade, because Pacific workers are concentrated in manufacturing.
He says it's time for Pacific people to start creating their own jobs and businesses.