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A data stewardship framework for NZ

The data stewardship framework and toolkit enables government to better manage and use the data it holds on behalf of New Zealanders.

Well-managed data underpinned by trust

Data stewardship is the careful and responsible creation, collection, management, and use of data.

Data has the power to improve lives. Because government stewards and uses data on behalf of New Zealanders, it has a duty to ensure data is managed as a valuable asset and used ethically.

When used securely – protecting privacy and confidentiality – and with New Zealand’s trust, data can provide rich insights about us and our communities to inform decision-making, improve services, and drive innovation.

The Government Chief Data Steward (GCDS) is building the foundation – the stewardship framework and toolkit – to enable government to better manage and safely access New Zealand’s data.

Data stewardship framework and toolkit [PDF 202 KB]
Government Chief Data Steward

Data leaders facilitate stewardship

The GCDS provides leadership of government-held data and is responsible for enabling greater data use. The GCDS partners with New Zealand data leaders to develop and implement the stewardship framework to enable government to maintain a sustainable data system.

The New Zealand data leaders include the Chief Archivist, Government Chief Digital Officer, Government Chief Information and Security Officer, Government Chief Privacy Officer, Government chief executives, Government Statistician, Commissioner of Inland Revenue, Iwi Leaders Forum, sector leads, and Te Mana Raraunga.

The Information Group provides governance for the data stewardship framework. The Information Group:

  • leads the information management strategy for the public sector
  • identifies opportunities to unlock and use government information
  • provides advice on data challenges
  • provides governance for all-of-government data initiatives.

Information Group

Data stewardship framework elements

The framework provides a structure and common language for organising and describing the different elements of effective data stewardship. The aim is to establish goals, boundaries, and principles rather than rigid processes, to allow agencies to implement stewardship in ways that work for them.

There are 7 key elements required for effective data stewardship:

  • Strategy and culture – a strategy that provides a shared vision and clear direction, and a data culture that enables strategy implementation and sustains good data stewardship practice.
  • Rules and settings – legislation, policies, principles, and sanctions providing boundaries and guiding how the data system should operate.
  • Roles, responsibilities, accountabilities – governance structures, role definitions and expectations, and leadership.
  • Data capability and quality – tools, processes, designs, metadata structures, and platforms for managing, storing, describing, and sharing data.
  • People capability and literacy – skills, knowledge, and services for accessing, managing, analysing, and communicating data and insights.
  • Influence and advocacy – effective relationships and networks to endorse, promote, and support good data practice.
  • Monitoring and assurance – assessing environmental trends and developments, measuring stewardship performance, and adapting the stewardship toolkit to respond to changing circumstances or new information.

New Zealand's data stewardship is multi-layered

Everyone has a part to play to ensure New Zealand’s data is managed and used responsibly.

New Zealand’s data system is multi-layered, so the stewardship of data is also multi-layered.

  • Data system – the most expansive layer – includes the people and organisations that create, collect, manage, and use data. Effective system stewardship will sustain a data system that protects privacy and confidentiality, maintains trust, and maximises the value of data.
  • Organisations – effective data stewardship will ensure the data an organisation creates, collects, stores, uses, and releases will be well managed, ethically used, and safely shared.
  • Datasets and individuals – effective stewardship will ensure individuals have the appropriate capabilities to carefully and responsibly manage and use datasets.

Data stewardship toolkit

The toolkit will enable the framework elements to be implemented. It will provide the resources, tools, guidance and advice, services, communities of practice, and expertise to help people and organisations to steward data effectively.

To develop the toolkit Stats NZ will:

  • collaborate to achieve common interests and benefits
  • reuse by adopting and adapting the good practices developed by agencies
  • encourage innovation so agencies can implement stewardship in ways that work for them
  • maintain trust through transparency and engagement
  • think long-term to ensure the toolkit remains fit-for-purpose
  • use relevant international standards and practices.

Data stewardship toolkit

Contact us

If you’d like more information, have a question, or want to provide feedback, email

Content last reviewed 18 November 2020.