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Launch of a new GCDS speaker series, Raraunga Ara Rau


On Monday morning, around 50 people from across the data system came together at Stats NZ for the launch of a new Government Chief Data Steward (GCDS) speaker series, Raraunga Ara Rau. 
The intention of Raraunga Ara Rau is to grow connections across the data system by offering a space to explore important data related kaupapa. Presenters and guest speakers will be from across the data system and may include international speakers where possible.  
Like any good event, the series also includes a chance for attendees to connect over kai, reflecting the idea that a healthy data system is one where we have strength in our connections to each other. 
For this inaugural session, we were lucky to be joined by guest speaker Professor Julia Lane, a statistician and economist who has extensive experience and expertise across many areas. Most recently, Julia was a senior advisor in the Office of the Federal CIO at the White House, supporting the implementation of the Federal Data Strategy. She is currently a professor at NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. 
Julia spoke to attendees about democratising data – a topic on which she has extensive expertise and has published a book. 
Specifically, Julia discussed what the practise and outcome of democratising data looks like, and why it’s important for a strong democracy. 
She also shared her insights on what she’s witnesses in the United States and how greater democratisation of data could apply in Aotearoa.   
“If we don’t produce public data, the only people who are going to have information to make important decisions are the big boys and girls and that’s going to have a deleterious impact on the functioning of our economy…what I care about is getting good public data out so your average person can make those decisions”- Julia Lane.   
Julia is in the Wellington for the remainder of the week where she will spend her time collaboratively between Stats and Treasury. Julia will be connecting with Stats through several workshops and small group sessions in addition to Treasury-led functions and presentations, including a session with the Productivity Hub Research Leaders Group.


Anna McDowell, General Manager Data Services presenting Julia Lane with our Stats NZ koha to thank her for the presentation and time.

Wendy Hamilton, General Manager Data System Capability, Rachael Milicich, and Julia Lane catch up prior to the session.

For any questions about the Raraunga Ara Rau GCDS speaker series, please contact



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