VALA Tech Camp 2021
TechEx Session 1

First Nations

Tools and concepts for Indigenous Knowledge management in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand.

Friday 9 April 2021

VALA - Libraries, Technology and the Future Inc

Is Māori Data Sovereignty in the GLAMR sector improving?


  • Kāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe, Waitaha
  • Nō Moeraki ahau
  • One of the original Koha developers
  • Works at Catalyst IT
  • Former board member Creative Commons Aotearoa NZ
  • Former board member National Digital Forum
  • @ranginui on twitter

Ko wai ahau?

Photo by Kristina Hoeppner - Used with permission


Te Mana Raraunga is a network of people advocating for Māori rights  and interests in data. I don't represent them but we are people who share a kaupapa.

Photo by Andrew Steinmetz CC-BY-SA
  • Data Sovereignty
  • Te Mana Raraunga
  • How are we doing?
  • What can we do better?


Data sovereignty comes into play when an organisation’s data is stored outside of their country and is subject to the laws of the country in which the data resides.

The ability to exert control over where the data is stored, how it is used, and who it used by.

Data Sovereignty

Narrow definition

My context

Te Mana Raraunga

The purpose of Te Mana Raraunga is to enable Māori Data Sovereignty and to advance Māori aspirations for collective and individual wellbeing by:

  1. Asserting Māori rights and interests in relation to data  
  2. Ensuring data for and about Māori can be safeguarded and protected
  3. Requiring the quality and integrity of Maori data and its collection
  4. Advocating for Māori involvement in the governance of data repositories
  5. Supporting the development of Māori data infrastructure and security systems
  6. Supporting the development of sustainable Māori digital businesses and innovations

Principles of Māori Data Sovereignty

  1. Rangatiratanga | Authority

  2. Whakapapa | Relationships

  3. Whanaungatanga | Obligations

  4. Kotahitanga | Collective benefit

  5. Manaakitangi | Reciprocity

  6. Kaitiakitanga | Guardianship


1.1 Control

1.2 Jurisdiction

1.3 Self-determination

Photo taken by me, Foreshore and Seabed hikoi - 2004

You can't exert (data) sovereignty unless you control the means of its production.

Photo courtesy of Verenoa Hetet

How are we doing?

Photo by Lance Grandahl on Unsplash

  • Do we know where data is being stored ?
  • Can we get all of it out at any time ?
  • Can we identify Māori data ?
  • What access do we provide for Māori to get their data ?
  • Should we even be holding it ?

Questions to evaluate our peformance


  • So it encourages us to do this with data
  • So we must put stuff in context, not see things as isolated data points
  • We must understand the whakapapa of the data
  • And we must be attentive to history
  • This will make all data science better

Kaupapa Māori is always mindful of context

Power based analysis

Maximise autonomy by keeping data private (mana motuhake)


While maximising control over the state by being able to see the data they are using


Very simplistically

View it through the lens of the power differential, those with the power should be open, those without, not so much.

We are used to asking:

  • What do we do with all these data?
  • How do we catalogue them?
  • How should we use them?


Less often we consider the questions:

  • Should we collect, aggregate, catalogue and exploit these data?
  • If so, how?
  • What would be ethical means for doing so?

The Good Data Manifesto

Good Data -Edited by Angela Daly, S. Kate Devitt and Monique Mann.

Is Māori Data Sovereignty in the GLAMR sector improving?

By Chris Cormack

Is Māori Data Sovereignty in the GLAMR sector improving?

  • 540