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Principle 3: Wānanga &

Principle 3: Use good data standards and practices. This principle includes ngā tikanga Wānanga (organisations) and Kaitiaki (guardians).

Wānanga | Organisations

He whakamārama | Meaning

Ko ngā mātauranga, ngā mōhiotanga ki ngā karakia, ki ngā kōrero whai tikanga, whai mana o te iwi.

Tuarua, he whare, he wāhi rānei e whāngaia ai ngā tauira ki ngā āhuatanga o te kauwae raro. Tuatoru, he tāngata pūkenga, he matau, he mōhio ki te mahi tika. I ēnei wā, he whare tuku mātauranga, mahi rangahau rānei.

Kei a ia te mana ki te whakahaere i ā rātou ake mahi.

Wānanga can mean many things. It is the action of discussing, deliberating, and considering particular matters or issues.

It also means traditional knowledge, but it can also mean an instructor, teacher, and wise guru or even a seminar or conference. In former times, Whare Wānanga were places of higher learning where tohunga (priests) taught lore and traditions to the sons of rangatira (leaders).

The modern meaning of wānanga is tertiary institutions that cater for Māori learning needs.


Organisations have established systems, policies, and procedures to support ethical, responsible, and culturally appropriate practices when working with data.

This tikanga consideration focuses on the organisations involved with undertaking the research and delivering the results, and their supporting role to the researchers and stakeholders.

Researchers should explain the type of support and assistance they will receive from their organisation and other partners with a stake in the research.

This support and assistance may include:

  • data strategies, protocols, policies, or management plans that guide good data stewardship and practices, such as internal ethical review processes
  • clearly identified roles, responsibilities, and accountabilities in the research, including governance structures, role definitions, and expectations
  • influence and advocacy – effective relationships and networks supporting the research
  • monitoring and assurance – assessing environmental trends and developments, measuring stewardship performance, and adapting to respond to changing circumstances or new information.

Things to consider

  • Existing data and information management policies that support ethical and culturally appropriate uses of data.
  • Need for and availability of subject matter expertise.
  • Resourcing or support for community members to govern parts of the research.
  • Governance or advisory groups that are helping guide the research.
  • Support from colleagues and external partners who work with researchers.
  • Existing programmes of work or policies that support or contribute to positive community objectives (including iwi and Māori and other subgroups).
  • Organisation strategic objectives that support the aspirations of iwi and Māori, and others likely to be highlighted in the data.
  • Ethics review processes the research proposal has previously gone through.
  • Active data management plans that address stewardship and/or ethics.

Kaitiaki | Guardians

He whakamārama | Meaning

Ko te kaitiaki he tangata he rōpū rānei ka noho ki te manaaki, ki te atawhai, ki te ārai, ki te tiaki i ngā taonga katoa o te ao Māori.

Based on the word ‘tiaki’ meaning ‘to guard or protect’, kaitiaki are people who practise kaitiakitanga. This is the act of exercising custodianship and guardianship in accordance with tikanga Māori over taonga such as the environment, its natural resources and wildlife, and customs or knowledge that ensures the safety and wellbeing of people.

There are many different kinds of kaitiaki - a kaitiaki can be a person, group, or entity that acts as a carer, guardian protector, and conserver.

The gods are considered to be the original kaitiaki – such as Tāne Māhuta, god of the forest who was the kaitiaki of the forest – and all other kaitiaki try to undertake the role in a similar way.


Communities of interest are identified and involved in research decisions as early as possible.

Kaitiaki in this context is described as the practice of applying careful, responsible and ethical practices when using data.

It also means data users, as kaitiaki/stewards of data, are considerate of the potential cultural impact on wider communities when data about them is used.

This tikanga consideration examines:

  • how data about communities will be cared for and managed, as humanly as possible, to ensure it is kept safe and used appropriately for intended research purposes
  • processes that allow researchers to communicate widely what information is being collected and used, and for what purpose
  • ways people could be involved in providing guidance from their own real-life situations.

Things to consider

  • Data management plans that have been developed with appropriate people.
  • Governance structures or groups that ensure the data use is robust and safe, and ethical or culturally appropriate uses of data are monitored for the duration of the research.
  • Whether appropriate people are included in the research design or data use plan as early as possible, if feasible.
  • Decision-making processes, and whether communities can participate or influence research decisions in some way or form.
  • Processes that monitor and discuss issues related to data ethics, including application of existing ethical frameworks.
  • Mitigation strategies to protect people’s data if there are any issues or risks.
  • Consideration of how Māori priorities, values, and world views might be applied in the research.

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Content last reviewed 23 November 2020.

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