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Exploring Te Ao Māori perspectives on offshore data storage

This report seeks to strengthen the Māori-Crown relationship by building understanding of Māori perspectives on data storage. It also aims to inform discussions and guide government agencies in their decision-making about storing data.

Offshoring New Zealand Government Data Report [PDF 949 KB]
Report: Offshoring New Zealand Government Data [HTML]

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Background 

One of the functions of the Government Chief Data Steward is to champion the effective use of data while maintaining the trust and confidence of New Zealanders in how their information is being used.

A key part of this stewardship is to provide a bridge between the Crown and Māori to ensure that Māori have confidence in the way their data is collected, managed, and used across our agencies.

As we have grown our adoption of cloud services, some Māori partners have raised concerns about the off-shore storage of Māori data. 

Bringing together feedback from the Data Iwi Leaders Group (Data ILG, an authorised entity of the National Iwi Chairs Forum) and Māori technicians on previous draft papers, Stats NZ contracted Bell Gully to conduct interviews and write a final report outlining the benefits, risks and mitigations of storing iwi and Māori data in the Cloud. This was in response to a request from the Data ILG who raised concern about offshore storage of Māori data.

Aims

The aim of the report is to strengthen the Māori-Crown relationship by building understanding of Māori perspectives on data storage. This will inform discussions and guide government agencies in their decision-making about storing data.  

This aligns to the wider Government Cloud Data Storage strategy that includes providing guidance and lifting capability for government agencies to support decision making when storing data in the Cloud.

The report

Interviews were carried out with a mixture of iwi and Māori with expertise related to Māori data kaupapa as well as government officials including Stats NZ, DIA and DPMC staff. The Government Information Group also contributed.

The report covers the current storage landscape, policy, legal and decision-making frameworks, Māori needs and aspirations, the challenges and opportunities and next steps for decision-making, regarding local storage options.

Next steps

The storage of government data is a fundamental dimension to Māori data sovereignty aspirations so any guidelines that support decisions about the physical or virtual storage of Māori data must be developed with Māori.

Genuine co-design takes time, and guidance on data storage is urgently needed. The GCDS is working with government partners, Data ILG, and Māori to co-design guidance together that will be shared with government agencies. This is closely aligned to the Māori data governance co-design work that the Data ILG and Stats NZ are leading. Together, these initiatives help build trust and confidence of Māori in the government data system and the Māori-Crown relationship.

Co-designing Māori data governance

Related to this, the Government Chief Digital Officer (GCDO) is leading the All-of-Government Cloud Programme which seeks to accelerate public sector uptake of cloud computing. We intend to work as part of this programme on how data governance and storage guidelines can integrate with GCDO guidance on cloud and other digital policy settings. 

All-of-government Cloud Programme - digital.govt.nz

Acknowledgments

The GCDS is very appreciative of the input, guidance and wisdom received from the many who have contributed to this report. Tēnā koutou katoa. 

Contact

If you have a question or want to provide feedback, email datalead@stats.govt.nz or the Stats NZ project team at tetohu@stats.govt.nz.

Content last reviewed 13 October 2021.

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