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Stats NZ trialling new census system to improve Māori engagement

Statistics New Zealand is trying to improve its census performance after apologising for problems around the 2018 effort.

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The data agency wants to improve its engagement with Māori, after issues with the 2018 online census. Source: 1 NEWS

Waahi Paa is one of Waikato Tainui's most important tribal hubs. It will now be the site of a test run for 2023.

Statistics New Zealand has been running a test census at Waahi Paa in Huntly today.

“We didn't do well enough for Māori and we didn't do well enough for Pacific people either,” says Kathy Connelly of Statistics New Zealand.

It comes as there were major issues with the 2018 online version. The ministry apologised to Māori for collecting low value data, with just 68 per cent of Māori participating.

“Things like community counts really is trying to build the relationship at the grass roots,” Connelly says.

Hauraki-Waikato MP Nanaia Mahuta grew up in the region and commends the exercise in breaking down barriers.

“It can be used for local government planning purposes, central government planning purposes but also over time for iwi, hapū and marae to be able draw on that dense data set to be able to inform their decision making,” Mahuta says.

The iwi leaders group is working with the Government on a bespoke data platform called Te Whata to break down tribal statistics.

“The data ecosystems can be more responsive and there are decisions that are made for us and then there are decisions made by us,” says Kiri Kowhai from the Data Iwi Leadership Group.

If successful, the trial will be rolled out across Māori communities for the 2023 census.