Crown likely to resume collecting iwi affiliation data

By Kelvin McDonald
Photo / File

People’s iwi affiliation information looks set to be collected under a new civil registration system to be introduced in 2024, which will replace the current births, deaths and marriages registration system.

The Department of Internal Affairs said in a statement Friday that the Crown and iwi will work to codesign a system that would enable iwi to verify that data.

Until 1961, Aotearoa used to record iwi affiliation information on Māori birth registrations and now an advisory group has recommended a return to collecting this data.

The recommendation comes in a draft report He Tātai Tupuna by Te Kāhui Tātai Tupuna, the Iwi Affiliation Data Decision Group.

Current data sources such as electoral rolls and census statistics are reportedly proving of limited use for iwi decision-making.

The report says iwi affiliation records are not only critical to a person's whānau identity but also of collective importance to iwi – and of national importance.

“These records of Iwi affiliation are a key part of this country’s bicultural, national story.”

All iwi and major Māori organisations were invited to be represented on the group, which is co-chaired by Kirikowhai Mikaere and the Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages, the Internal Affairs statement said.

Mikaere is Pou Ārahi of Te Kāhui Raraunga, chair of Tūhourangi Tribal Authority, and technical lead for the Data Iwi Leaders Group.

The group has also explored the importance of iwi access and control of iwi information, the need for iwi to verify their members, as well as how iwi data in government possession should be stored, accessed and governed.

“Collecting iwi affiliation is important, but just as important is the need for iwi to have control, to verify and confirm that data,” says Mikaere.

“High quality verified iwi affiliation data will help ensure Iwi registers are accurate and enable Iwi to provide services to members with confidence.”