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  Tai Tokerau Speaker Series - Tahu Kukutai

Tai Tokerau Speaker Series: Tahu Kukutai - Census and Māori: Implications for our future.
Wednesday 20 June 2018 at 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
May Bain Room, Whangarei Central Library
Cost: Free
Contact: Helen Pengelly, Events Coordinator, University of Auckland +64 9 373 7999 ext 48616 or email

​The University of Auckland and the Royal Society Te Apārangi presents the 2018 Tai Tokerau Speaker Series

Free public lecture and networking opportunity.

Tahu Kukutai

Director of National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis, University of Waikato.

Census and Māori: Implications for our future

Census-taking has always been tied to power. The word ‘census’ derives from the Latin word censere meaning ‘to tax’ or ‘assess’, and its origins in antiquity coincide with the rise of early states and their extraction of resources through taxation, labour or military conscription. Nowadays the census is seen as a crucial tool of governance, providing information about a country’s size, spatial distribution and characteristics. However, concerns about escalating costs and the need for more timely data have prompted governments around the world to explore alternatives including the use of internet technologies, population registers and the linking of individual-level data across different systems.

In Aotearoa New Zealand the drive towards more intensive use of administrative data raises important ethical questions about consent, privacy, access, use, governance and ownership. These issues are amplified for Māori who have often been at the sharp end of statistical surveillance. One response has been the emergence of the Māori Data Sovereignty movement which advocates for Māori rights and interests in Māori data. This talk traces the history of the census in Aotearoa and considers the future challenges and opportunities of linked, big and open data, including those raised by Māori data sovereignty.

Professor Tahu Kukutai

Tahu Kukutai (Ngāti Tiipa, Maniapoto, Te Aupōuri) is Professor of Demography at the National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis, University of Waikato. Tahu specialises in Māori and indigenous demographic research and has written extensively on official statistics (including census methodologies), Māori population change and Māori identity. She has undertaken research with and for government agencies, hapū, iwi, and NGOs. Tahu is a founding member of the Māori Data Sovereignty Network Te Mana Raraunga and is Vice President of the Population Association of New Zealand. She is co-editor (with John Taylor) of the new volume Indigenous Data Sovereignty: Toward an Agenda (free download on ANU Press website). She was previously a journalist.

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2018 Tai Tokerau Speaker Series Programme

The Joint Series between the Royal Society Te Apārangi and University of Auckland arose out of an Advisory Board meeting for the National Lifecourse Research Centre, chaired by Professor Richard (Dick) Bedford and of which Professor Cindy Kiro, Director - Tai Tokerau Campus, is a member. Professor Richie Poulton is Co-Director of this Centre.

Professor Kiro spoke to them both about her hopes of being able to take the amazing learning captured in tertiary institutions and make this more accessible to communities and in particular to do this for Tai Tokerau. They all thought it was a great opportunity and that given their central role in the Royal Society (Dick is the current President), this was an opportunity for both organisations to do something together.

It was agreed that 2018 being a census year, the emerging theme of speakers would be around "people and place". We will continue to webcast and promote the series in our partnership with Whangarei Libraries, who have been such strong supporters of the Tai Tokerau Speakers Series in 2017.

2018 will be an exciting series with the possibility of perhaps a more interactive panel based format for speakers with even more diverse members of the community.

14 March 2018

Professor Richard Bedford | Emeritus Professor, University of Waikato and Auckland University of Technology President, Royal Society Te Apārangi
People and Place

11 April 2018

Professor Richie Poulton | Director Dunedin Multidisciplinary Study and Chief Science Advisor MSD.
The science of well-being for children and young people

6 June 2018

Professor Paul Spoonley | PVC Social Sciences, Massey University

View previous 2017 and 2018 lectures

 Speaker Series webcast catalogue


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Updated: 25/06/2018 11:17 a.m.



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