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Other census information requirements

We have identified legal requirements for the census to provide Māori ethnicity, Māori descent, age, sex, and location information. These variables are required to provide basic counts of the Māori population and they underpin New Zealand’s electoral system. We place these legal requirements under the essential ‘must have’ category for future censuses. Providing Māori ethnicity and Māori descent information is particularly important for the information requirements for and about Māori, as these identifiers define the populations of interest.

Beyond these core population-related variables, te reo Māori is established under the Māori Language Act 1987 as an essential information need – it is one of New Zealand’s official languages that require protection by the Crown and Māori, and is central to culture and national identity.

We now consider any further ‘must have’ variables, and what other uses demonstrate information of high importance. Statistics NZ has created a framework of statistics for and about Māori, He Arotahi Tatauranga (Statistics NZ, 2014). This framework has a broad conceptual basis – to measure well-being from the concept of Māori well-being that is achieved through a process of Māori development. It is a first step towards classifying information needs for Māori. The framework is not census specific, but we can map all census information needs for and about Māori identified in the current work onto He Arotahi Tatauranga. The framework was designed to be used primarily by Māori – to organise and use their information in a way that supports their development and well-being that is consistent with their aspirations as a people.

Information collected during previous consultations with users of census-related Māori statistics demonstrates the breadth of statistical needs both for and about Māori. There are key differences between the needs of these groups, which range from government spending and planning to enabling iwi to develop and prosper. Section 5 therefore addresses the broader social and economic needs from both the ‘for Māori’ and ‘about Māori’ perspectives.

The Treaty settlement process and post-Treaty settlement environment is important in this context.

Treaty settlements and the post-settlement environment

Treaty settlements are agreements between the Crown and a Māori claimant group to settle all that claimant group's historical claims against the Crown (Office of Treaty Settlements). Both the Māori claimant group and the Crown require information to inform the settlements. The Crown has preferred to negotiate with large natural groups. A large natural group is usually defined as an iwi (tribe), or a cluster of hapū (sub-tribe) with a significant population, and often a large distinctive claim area (Office of Treaty Settlements).

This has meant that iwi rather than hapū or whānau (family) have needed information about their group to settle grievances with the Crown. Information about iwi collected in the census has been very important for this process; for example, many iwi or those settling on behalf of iwi requested their ‘iwi profiles’ as evidence of their affiliates.

Since the 1980s, Māori-Pākehā political interactions have focused on the Treaty settlement process. Ngāi Tahu and Waikato-Tainui were among the first iwi to reach settlements. These iwi, along with other iwi and Māori authorities (tribal collective management), have become key players in their regional economies and the national Māori economy.

In the environment after settlement it is likely that information for iwi will become increasingly important, as Māori determine their own development as Māori.

In recent decades the emphasis in Māori life has shifted from seeking redress for historical wrongdoings towards autonomous leadership and participation in public life in ways that reflect Māori values and aspirations (Royal Society of New Zealand, 2014, p16).

New information needs for and about Māori will emerge as iwi and Māori authorities define development progress from a Māori perspective, providing their own information and expecting relevant information from the Crown. For example, the Wai 262 Waitangi Tribunal judgement points to areas of information need in the future as it draws attention to matters of mutual consideration (Ministry of Justice, 2011). Wai 262 is a Treaty of Waitangi claim brought against the New Zealand Crown in 1991 by individual members of six iwi. It is generally known as the “flora and fauna claim”, but its scope is significantly wider. The claim covers not just Māori culture, language, ceremonies, and artistic works, but also science, history, and traditional knowledge, and, in some cases, plant and animal species.

Census information requirements for Māori

Statistics for Māori are statistics that enable Māori well-being and development as the indigenous population (ie ‘as Māori’) to be measured. A range of iwi organisations, pan-Māori organisations, community organisations, and researchers use census information for Māori.

Iwi organisations

Iwi organisations’ information needs for Māori are similar to those of other population groups; for example, they require information about people in their iwi and rohe to inform their health, education, and work plans, and to develop policies around housing, families, and young and old people. They want to know whether their youth are participating in school, study, or training, as this affects the local workforce and Māori economic development. They want to understand barriers their people face accessing local services.

Iwi is a third key identifier for Māori, alongside ethnicity and descent. To understand the characteristics iwi are interested in, a basic population count must be collected for each iwi. While sample surveys can provide some information for the largest iwi, it is only the census that provides a range of information for all iwi. For the census, or other collections, to add any additional information about specific iwi, counts of iwi groups must be part of the information the census provides.

Although iwi organisations are interested in the individuals affiliated with their iwi across the country, they have more interest in the people in their rohe. Most information is needed at a local level, and therefore the location of iwi affiliates is essential for iwi organisations, so they can separate affiliates within the rohe from those living outside.

The census currently publishes iwi profiles as part of the suite of information released after the census. They cover topics that include: population, language, education, families and households, labour force, religion, and smoking behaviour.

During consultation, some iwi organisations told Statistics NZ that alongside census information they often gathered their own information or used that from other government departments and iwi. The general interest topics given were: health, education, housing, and labour force participation. Iwi use this information for service delivery, targeting gaps, early childhood education participation and student enrolment, managing social services, and identifying barriers that whānau face.

In the next 10 years, the kind of information needed to better understand Māori development and well-being (cultural, social, and economic) and to help Māori inform their own debates and decision-making will change (Statistics New Zealand, in press b). Some larger iwi organisations are already using census data and other government agencies data. Others may follow. There will also be a growing expectation that Māori and iwi provide information themselves.

Given the need for information at an iwi level, the key role that iwi play in the Treaty settlement process and the growing need for information about iwi after settlement, iwi groupings are an essential ‘must have’ variable for future censuses.

Pan-Māori organisations and community groups

We have less understanding about census information requirements for pan-Māori organisations and community groups (eg Māori Woman’s Welfare League). However, these organisations and iwi are likely to have different census information needs.

Further developing statistics for Māori

The census has been a main source for information about the characteristics of Māori and iwi. However, we need to reconsider this information and how it is provided in the context of Māori well-being and development. He Arotahi Tatauranga documents this thinking and highlights the areas of most interest to Māori. For the Māori economy, the census has been the main source of information about income and occupation. But “the rise of the Māori economy has engendered new ways of thinking about Māori economic activities and wealth creation” (Royal Society of New Zealand, 2014, p16). Other collections and measures are being developed to complement the census as a provider of Māori and iwi population characteristics.

Te Kupenga goes some way to providing more detail about Māori well-being and development, including information about hāpu and whānau, as part of Statistics NZ’s Treaty obligation. Te Kupenga collects information of specific interest and importance to Māori that relates to Māori well-being and development. This survey collects attributes of Māori and iwi that cannot be collected by the census. However, the census is key to running Te Kupenga efficiently as it provides the sampling frame, and the base Māori population counts used in the estimation. We need to consider the potential impact on Te Kupenga in discussing any changes to the census model.

Census information requirements about Māori

Statistics about Māori usually define Māori by their similarity or difference from the population in general. Statistics about Māori have many users, including: Māori themselves, central and local government and service providers, academics and researchers, non-profit organisations, community groups, businesses, and the public.

The census is highly valued for its breadth of information across a range of topics for subgroups of the population at low levels of geography. The census topics are relevant to most of New Zealand’s population, meaning that much of the social and economic information produced by the census is also important and relevant to Māori.

Government in particular requires reliable information to develop and estimate the cost of policies and programmes and to monitor and evaluate their effectiveness. These policies aim to enhance the outcomes of all New Zealanders, including the Treaty obligation to assure equity as citizens for Māori and the distribution of limited Crown resources. For policies and programmes to be effective in improving outcomes, they must be based on evidence – a large part of which must come from official statistics about Māori.

Table 2 (in appendix 1) gives an overview of users and uses of census information for several government organisations, based on feedback from our recent consultations. In the Māori context, key variables of interest to government include: Māori ethnicity, Māori descent, iwi affiliation, language spoken, and usual residence.

Māori ethnicity appears to be used consistently across these organisations and they have broad interest in work, income, education, and household and family information. Information on smoking and household crowding is important for public health policies. Most information included in the table reflects central government’s uses of information about Māori, which vary widely and depend on the priorities of each organisation.

As indicated earlier within the Treaty context section, this information provides evidence for Māori about how the Crown is assuring citizenship rights to Māori, or where there may be a need for further policy focus. As an example, Te Hiku Accord provides an opportunity for mana whenua (those with customary authority) to discuss with the relevant Crown agencies how well the government’s health, social, and employment policies are achieving equity for Māori in their sector, as well as for their iwi. Statistics NZ is involved in this accord (Orange, 2014). Through initiatives like this accord, iwi are building relationships with government departments such as the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education. Iwi are combining data and knowledge from each agency to produce reports about their iwi. Iwi counts and basic demographics from the census provide the population reference point for all other sources.

Tier 1 statistics are another important consideration for key information needs about Māori. Tier 1 statistics are the most-important official statistics, essential to understanding how well New Zealand is performing. They are agreed across government as critical statistics for the country and are internationally comparable.

Some Tier 1 statistics relate to Māori information needs; for example, ‘Māori language use’ is a Tier 1 statistic. However, the topics that relate to Māori focus mainly on information ‘about’ Māori.

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