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Ed Sheeran

Researchers challenge Maori data use

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Indigenous demographers and researchers are questioning how data on their populations and individuals is being collected and used.

The issues are canvassed in a new online publication by the Australian National University Press, Indigenous Data Sovereignty: Toward an Agenda, which was launched at this week’s Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga indigenous research conference.

Co-editor Tahu Kukatai from the University of Waikato’s National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis says indigenous researchers in a number of countries are thinking about the ownership, control, access and possession of data.

In New Zealand the government is developing new approaches to linking data, as can be seen from its so called investment approach.

The changes have gone ahead without any attempt to create a Maori data governance framework.

"So if my data been linked up all over the show how do I know that that data is going to be used for my benefit or the benefit of my whanau or iwi. I think without having Maori right at the forefront of those conversations it's not going to benefit us," she says.

Tahu Kukatai says disquiet over data sovereignty has led to the formation of a new group to work on the issue, Te Mana Raraunga.

The book Indigenous Data Sovereignty is available at:


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