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Census Release On Te Whata Important Milestone For Iwi Data

Joint Te Kāhui Raraunga and Stats NZ media release

Te Kāhui Raraunga and Stats NZ have taken an historic step in Aotearoa New Zealand's data landscape today with the release of 2023 Census Māori descent data on the iwi-designed and operated platform, Te Whata.

This is the first time census data has been released on a non-government-owned platform as part of a census release.

The milestone has been made possible under the Mana Ōrite Relationship agreement between the Data Iwi Leaders Group and Stats NZ.

“Sharing the release of 2023 Census data is an important step in the implementation of the Māori data governance model and highlights the positive outcomes that can be achieved through iwi-Crown partnerships. This marks a significant move forward in Māori data governance and management,” Te Kāhui Raraunga Chair, Rahui Papa says.

“Stats NZ has prioritised making Māori descent data available on Te Whata a part of the first release. We have worked closely with Te Kāhui Raraunga on the 2023 Census, because our aim is to help iwi and Māori access and use data about themselves. We look forward to replicating this model for the big data releases coming later in the year,” Government Statistician and Stats NZ Chief Executive, Mark Sowden says.

Te Whata, developed by Te Kāhui Raraunga (with support from Stats NZ in 2020), is a by iwi, for iwi data platform hosting relevant information and insights that can be harnessed by iwi Māori to identify areas for celebration, development, or intervention.

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Te Whata was developed to allow iwi Māori to tell their own narratives according to their own priorities and world views. Te Whata displays data in a way that is meaningful and relevant to iwi Māori users. These insights form the foundation for iwi and Māori to have data-informed conversations with, and within, their communities.

“Collecting and hosting our data on an iwi data platform is a significant milestone in regaining mana motuhake over the data narrative about our people. It’s about using our stories and data to lead critical conversations with government, funders, and strategic partners,” Papa says.

“Today’s data release was helped by the successful rollout of Te Mana Whakatipu, a data capability build initiative that saw iwi lead census collections in three areas: Ōhua, Toitū Tairāwhiti, and Te Whānau-ā-Apanui. The response to the census in their areas is a testament to their unique engagement and collection approach, as well as the leadership and support of Te Kāhui Raraunga and the Data Iwi Leaders Group.”

While designed for iwi, 2023 Census first release data on Te Whata is open and available to all New Zealanders for their use and benefit.

“We support and encourage everyone to use Te Whata. Data releases on Te Whata are a key part of the improvements for the 2023 Census, which better meets the needs of iwi Māori, and data users across all communities,” Sowden says.

Te Kāhui Rauranga Charitable Trust was established in 2019 to undertake mahi on behalf of the Data Iwi Leaders Group, a sub-group of the Iwi Chairs Forum.

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