Social Licence: A Māori Perspective

The Partnership recently held a korero focused on a Māori perspective for social licence and data use. Tina Porou, a member of our working group, facilitated the session.

The discussion was wide ranging and informed by opening presentations from Dame Diane Robertson (our Chair) and Maui Hudson from the University of Waikato. 

Participants agreed that the unique status of Māori as tangata whenua and Treaty partners in a rapidly evolving data space must be recognised by the Crown and the work of Data Futures. It was also recognised that the concept of social licence is challenging and must be sophisticated enough to take account of Māori perspectives. The benefits and value of social licence to Māori must also be clearly articulated. 

One of the many valuable contributions which emerged was a consideration of the way in which data is collected and used. There are times when Iwi and Māori will want to assert their mana motuhake (self determination) and stand alone, and at other times will seek kotahitanga (unity) with other Māori or Iwi on common issues.  A feeling was also expressed that Iwi need to build relationships and partnerships with each other to share information and strategies to fast-track social, economic, environmental and cultural outcomes.

It was also highlighted that Iwi registers are collecting information from their members and seeking permission to share that data but also need to be having conversatons about social licence.  There is a need to be mindful of not building models that undermine hapū and whānau authority, or lack transparency. 

In common with data use across all communites, it was highlighted that data should inform a strategy and not be the end goal. 

The korero raised many important questions which will be further explored in our engagement with Māori as part of the Partnership’s social licence work stream.