Skip to content

Māori Data Governance and Māori data aspirations

Kirikowhai and audience

Last week, Stats NZ hosted it’s final Raraunga Ara Rau data speaker series of 2023. We had another fantastic turnout, with 60 people attending in person and 100 online – this being the highest attendance to date!

The topic for this session was Māori Data Governance and Māori data aspirations – a kōrero about our Māori data governance model.

Our guest speaker was Kirikowhai Mikaere fromTe Kāhui Raraunga, who talked through the Māori Data Governance (MDG) Model which was designed by Māori data experts and is intended for use across the Aotearoa New Zealand public service.

It articulates a future state for a Tiriti-led data system – intended to enable iwi, hapū and Māori organisations, businesses and communities to pursue their own goals for cultural, social, economic and environmental wellbeing and to eliminate inequities.
The model is structured to include guiding questions and key actions for agencies to work through in their own contexts. It presents principles and practices that can be used as guidelines for the data system in Aotearoa, New Zealand to recognise the rights, interests and aspirations that Māori have in relation to the collection, ownership and application of Māori data.

During Kirikowhai’s presentation she talked through the model, the values it is based on and it’s why, explaining that the whole model has been designed for government… “it is our challenge, and it is our aspiration for a more trusted and more responsive data system for Aotearoa”.

“These values seem pretty logical”, she commented, “and are what we think should underpin this model: be accountable, nurture data as taonga, and use our data for good….to use data for good sounds easy but data has been used to harm us for generations”. Kirikowhai outlined the importance of putting iwi Māori data in iwi Māori hands, posing to the audience a question of trust which is not a one-dimensional concept “how can we trust you with our data if you’re not going to give it back”?

The Model supports safe, ethical practices that mitigate these harms and actively protect Aotearoa New Zealand’s people and data. By adopting these practices, Aotearoa New Zealand also has the unique opportunity to model best practice for its fellow Digital Nations.
Māori data aspirations encapsulate a vision where data serves as a vehicle for empowerment, cultural preservation, and self-determination, enabling Māori communities to shape their narrative, strengthen their identity, and thrive in a data-driven world while upholding their values and beliefs.

The MDG model can be found here, published by Te Kāhui Raraunga in May 2023. The model provides a significant contribution to set a vision for the future of the Government data system.

A huge thanks to everyone who was involved in making this event successful and come together so smoothly, and a special thanks to Tia Warbrick who stepped in to host the event for us.

If you have any questions about this article, you can contact



No one has commented on this page yet.

Post your comment