Iwi forging closer relationship with Stats NZ over Māori data solutions
The Data Iwi Leaders Group supports the findings of an independent review into the 2018 New Zealand Census – but says
its failings provide a unique opportunity to co-design better data solutions for the future.
The review’s report was officially released in Wellington today <> and identifies significant issues with the implementation of the 2018 Census.
The report also highlights failings in relation to engagement with Māori over the census, and the collection of data
It was announced at the end of April that the 2018 Census would not be able to provide official statistical counts of
iwi information, due to a significant level of missing iwi affiliation data.
As a result, the Data Iwi Leaders Group – a subset of the National Iwi Chairs Forum – has been liaising with Stats NZ to
develop solutions to remediate some of the data gaps.
Pou Tangata co-chair, and spokesperson for the Data Iwi Leaders Group Chairs, Rahui Papa says the group has been working
extremely closely with Stats NZ to forge a stronger relationship and develop innovative solutions that will provide more
effective data in the future.
“Unfortunately, the 2018 Census was a big setback for Māori data,” says Mr Papa.
“But while we would prefer not to be in this position, this situation has created an important opportunity for
ourselves, and Stats NZ, to develop innovative solutions that will result in better data outcomes – both for Iwi Māori,
and for New Zealand as a whole.
“It is clear that we cannot afford to solely rely on one data source, like the Census. This unfortunate situation will
help ensure better engagement with Iwi Māori going forward, along with data sets that are driven across the wider
“This will mean we won’t need to rely on a single Census project, every five years – we should have access to greater
information, across the whole of Government.”
Mr Papa says another important outcome from the Census failings is an undertaking from Stats NZ to work closer with Iwi
Māori – and much sooner – to co-design the next Census.
“Ultimately, all of this work will ensure that future Census’, and New Zealand’s wider data ecosystem, is more robust
and responsive for Iwi Māori.”
Today’s announcement also included the resignation of Government Statistician and CEO of Stats NZ, Liz MacPherson.
Mr Papa says the group is looking forward to working with Ms MacPherson before she finishes with Stats NZ at the end of
“It is clear that working with Māori and developing solutions to remediate these gaps is a priority for her. Despite the
challenges with the 2018 Census, she has been a strong advocate for Māori data outcomes.
“Ultimately, we hope that the recommendations are taken on board by Stats NZ and the whole of Government, and that iwi
are involved in a much greater level in key Government data initiatives as Treaty partners.”