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Summary of key issues, themes, and trends

This chapter summarises the key issues, themes, and trends we identified.

Information ‘about’ and ‘for’ Māori

We interviewed representatives of 13 government agencies as part of our review of the statistical standard for iwi. We asked questions based on three areas of concern:

  • Who are the ‘Māori entities’ that the government are engaging with? (What types of Māori entities are the government engaging with?) 
  • What is this engagement about? (What’s the purpose and nature of this engagement?) 
  • What potential statistical information needs do the Māori entities have? (What will help their development purposes?)

In the context of Crown–Māori relationships, these areas of enquiry provide an important insight into the future information and statistical requirements about Māori and for Māori.

Information about Māori is useful for gauging how Māori development is occurring relative to the rest of the population. Information for Māori enables us to measure Māori wellbeing as well as the amount and type of development that is led by Māori.

Information for Māori is becoming increasingly important as Māori become more active as leading participants in all aspects of society. In particular, Māori groups that have been through the Treaty settlement process are now more interested in, and involved in, investment and development initiatives. As a result, information for Māori is becoming more important for these groups as they chart their development paths.

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Crown–Māori engagement

The fundamental theme we observed regarding Crown–Māori engagement is the vast variability in the engagement that is occurring, and the vast spectrum of Māori entities that are being engaged with. Despite some engagement being specific and structured, we observed that government agencies are quite open and flexible with the type of Māori entities they engage with during the course of their work and the programmes the agencies lead.

We also noticed that government agencies are very pragmatic in their approach to Māori engagement. This reflects the fact that government agencies need to be practical and adaptable in their many and varied engagements with Māori entities.

We observed a number of practical matters that influence who agencies engage with. For instance, they take into account which entities are most influential and can therefore best help deliver the results or objectives being pursued by the agency.

Evolution within te ao Māori

We observed changes within Māoridom and how Māori organise themselves, particularly the trend for Māori entities to consolidate and amalgamate, and collaborate with other Māori entities. This trend allows Māori entities to realise efficiencies and add influence by consolidating and amalgamating their interests, and by collaborating with other Māori entities, whilst allowing Māori entities to maintain their own specific interests as distinct entities.

Treaty settlements

Māori groups in general are wielding more political and economic influence. Māori claimant groups are receiving significant assets and financial redress through their Treaty settlements. These entities, and other Māori stakeholders, are seen as key drivers in facilitating economic growth within their regions/rohe. (Note: ‘Māori claimant group’ is used in this report to represent entity(ies) formed to represent Māori groups and interests within the historical Treaty settlement process. This is the same terminology used by the Office of Treaty Settlements, 2014.)

Māori entities are also undertaking more direct engagement with senior government officials and Ministers and this engagement is providing Māori with more political influence. This trend will become more evident as the Crown resolves and settles the outstanding Treaty claims and settlements with Māori claimant groups.

Iwi Chairs Forum and Iwi Leaders Groups

The Iwi Chairs Forum and the various Iwi Leaders Groups are becoming increasingly significant and prevalent stakeholders in engagement between the Crown and Māori. They are a growing political force because of their ability to represent various interests; and they are an important forum for discussing and engaging on various issues.

In line with this growing economic and political influence, it is likely that Māori entities will become more interested in statistical information for Māori to enable them to measure the effectiveness of their developments. Government agencies are going to be more interested in statistics for Māori to enable them to measure Māori development relative to the rest of the population, as well as gain an insight into the effectiveness of government programmes and initiatives for Māori.

Government’s focused approach

As a response to some of these trends, Government is taking a much more focused approach to improving the alignment and coordination of its Crown/Māori engagement. At present there are various initiatives underway that focus specifically on examining Crown–Māori engagement in response to the changes within Māoridom and the challenges this poses for Crown–Māori engagement.

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Statistical information requirements

What agencies would like

We identified several statistical needs of government agencies.

  • The agencies require different types of statistical information from what is currently available. 
  • Whilst there was general agreement from agencies that there is good statistical information available at a high level, this information is not well-known about or well understood, especially by Māori.
  • More specificity and detail in the statistical information than is currently available.
  • The ability to tailor this information to match their specific needs.
  • More holistic data to match the holistic Māori worldview.

The role Statistics NZ could perform

The people we interviewed raised concerns about the overall statistics system and suggested the role Statistics NZ could play in addressing some of these issues. 

  • The information currently collected by Statistics NZ is useful at a high-level, but it does not fully reflect or cater for the varied and detailed information needs of all agencies.
  • The current iwi classification does not reflect the multitude of Māori entities that agencies are engaging with, and the potential statistical information requirements for these various Māori entities.

Increasing Māori capability

Many of the agencies commented on the lack of Māori capability to use and understand statistical information. This was identified as a key hurdle for Crown–Māori engagement. Several agencies were looking at how they could share their resources and expertise to alleviate this issue.

Need for new statistics and collections

Overall, it is apparent that there is a need for new ways of presenting existing information and statistics, and potential new areas of statistical information collection – including information about Māori and for Māori.

It is also clear that further work is required to raise Māori capability for understanding and using statistical information.

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