National | Census

'We've never been in this position before to drive better outcomes for iwi'

The National Iwi Chairs Forum at Waitangi 2023.  Photo / Supplied

For this year's census to deliver for iwi and Māori, whānau must be encouraged to 'engage', the National Iwi Chairs Forum (NICF) says.

At Waitangi this week, iwi discussed the upcoming 2023 Census - on Tuesday, 7 March - and the importance of this kaupapa for whānau, hapū and iwi.

The 2018 Census significantly undercounted Māori, producing "poor results". The NICF expect a "far better result" this year but this requires whānau to engage and "fill in the forms and respond," it says.

"By taking part in the census, we help create a better understanding of our contributions to Aotearoa, how we are faring and what tāngata whenua need. We have never been in this position before, where we are able to drive better outcomes for iwi through the census," Dame Rangimārie Glavish, the NICF's Pou Tāngata co-chair, says.

Under Te Mana Whakatupu - a "flagship initiative" for this year's census - iwi collectives in Te Tai Tokerau, Tairāwhiti and Te Whānau ā Apanui will collect responses to the census from whānau in their rohe.

"Te Whānau ā Apanui are 100 per cent supportive and are excited to be collecting our own data, in our own rohe, with our own people," says Willie Te Ao of Te Whānau ā Apanui.

Pou Tāngata co-chair, Rahui Papa, who is also chair of the Data Iwi Leaders group which utilises Māori data to improve Māori wellbeing, says there will be significant benefits for iwi and Māori as a result of the census process.

"By collecting rich databases there will be cultural, social and economic benefits for iwi, such as improving the health and welling being of our whānau. It is also a vital source of information for our iwi businesses and to develop investment plans that will deliver for our people."

Iwi and Māori data will be made available on Te Whata, the iwi-developed and designed data platform.