Putting iwi data in iwi hands

Te Kāhui Raraunga
+ Octave

Te Kāhui Raraunga is a working group of the Data Iwi Leaders Group, which is guided by the goal of realising data aspirations and benefits for all iwi. We helped TKR deliver a platform that does exactly that, in partnership with our friends at DOT Loves Data.

The scenario

Meaningful data around iwi in Aotearoa can best be described as patchy. Not only is a complete picture hard to piece together, but it’s also even more difficult to know what to do with the data that is available.

Surfacing insights

This project began by interviewing iwi leaders from across Aotearoa – board members, CEOs and general managers. The insights that defined the vision for Te Whata emerged during these conversations.  What we learned was that existing data platforms don’t fit Māori leaders’ worldview. There were numerous comments on the disempowering nature of cold, hard numbers and that their intent in sharing data was to effect positive change. A recurring maxim emerged: “Stats, stories, solutions.”

Surfacing insights

The design of Te Whata gives space for each iwi to tell their story by creating a customisable dashboard of selected metrics, along with the iwi’s own commentary. Iwi leaders can add goals and messaging to each metric to share their aspirations, plans and the mahi they are doing to get there.

“I’m delighted to see Te Whata in action – it is ground-breaking and easy to use.”

Mark Sowden — Government Statistician & Stats NZ Chief Executive

Building an extensible platform

A data platform really is only as good as the data that sits behind it and the lack of up-to-date iwi-centric data represented a significant challenge.

The Te Whata platform was built with two key considerations: firstly, it needs to be useful from day one; and secondly, new datasets can be added to the platform as they become available. We also configured Te Whata for use with external tools such as Microsoft Power BI, allowing for deeper data interrogation.


Te Whata is a good first step in making iwi data more accessible. TKR is working hard with iwi, Stats NZ and a number of government agencies on a new pipeline of data that can be added to the Te Whata platform.

Iwi are a group of people, not an ethnicity located in a region, and this is reflected in Te Whata. This is an important signal to government agencies about the deficits in existing data-collection methodologies around iwi.

“Te Whata is a ground-breaking platform that is specifically tailored to our data needs, as iwi. It was designed with, by, and for iwi. [...] The data can be arranged to tell our stories, our way. We are excited because we have never had this before. It is revolutionary!”

Rahui Papa — Co-Chair, National Iwi Chairs Forum

Branding with a story

The initial brand concept took cues from tukutuku panels and data visualisations. A repeating pattern of lines and Xs, similar to ones you might see on a graph, form the horizontal and vertical lines of a poutama pattern, representing progression, overcoming challenges and growth. The branding connects to the wider brand strategy and narrative of TKR.