Who we are

The Partnership is an independent group that was created by Government to develop innovative solutions to data-use issues. The Partnership's work is directed by a Working Group that was appointed by Cabinet. The Working Group is supported by a secretariat housed at Statistics NZ. 

The Data Futures Partnership Working Group

Dame Diane Robertson - Chair

Dame Diane RobertsonDame Diane is the former City Missioner at the Auckland City Mission. She has instigated and managed databases for a variety of agencies. She was responsible for the collection and analysis of data gathered for the Auckland City Mission’s Family 100 research project, which has become one of New Zealand’s leading authorities on families living in poverty.

Diane is a successful social sector entrepreneur, giving her a unique combination of strong business and financial skills with strong social sector credentials. Her passion is to deliver better outcomes for New Zealanders through the development of sound policies informed by qualitative and quantitative data.

Stephen England-Hall

Stephen England-Hall

Stephen is the CEO of Tourism New Zealand. Previously CEO of Loyalty NZ, the company behind the FlyBuys programme and new data analytics business LAB 360.

Stephen has extensive international experience – particularly in the UK and North America ‐ working as a senior executive of world leading digital marketing, data and technology companies. He was a member of the New Zealand Data Futures Forum and is a member of the Cambridge University Vice-Chancellor’s Advisory Board on Communication.  Stephen takes a particular interest in the business use, adoption, and transformation created by digital capabilities, data, media, and technology.


Tina Porou

Tina Porou

Tina is of Ngati Porou and Ngati Tuwharetoa descent and is the founder of Poipoia, a niche company focused on sustainability through a Maori lense. She was previously the Head of Sustainability at Contact Energy. She holds a Master’s Degree in Geography from Waikato University, and is deeply committed to her iwi and hapu, and using her skills to grow their collective aspirations.

Tina’s focus is on innovation and transformational change in commercial organisations, and using this innovation to answer the hard questions around socio-economic growth, cultural preservation and environmental stability.

Tina was previously the environmental manager of the Tuwharetoa Maori Trust Board, and the general manager of the Te Arawa Iwi River Trust. She holds a range of governance roles, including trustee of the Lake Taupo Forest Trust and Toitu Ngati Porou and is a Sir Peter Blake Trust Leader.

Professor Miriam Lips

Professor Miriam LipsMiriam is Professor of Digital Government at Victoria University of Wellington’s School of Government, where she leads a five-year research programme on ‘Government and Democracy in the Digital Age’, undertaken in partnership with several government agencies, including the Department of Internal Affairs, Inland Revenue Department and the Ministry of Education.

Her research interests include data-driven innovation, including open government; privacy and ethics of data sharing; new forms of evidence-driven public policy; sector, business, and service transformation; and digital inclusion. 

Miriam is also Deputy Chair of the Open Government Partnership Stakeholder Advisory Group and was a Member of the New Zealand Data Futures Forum. Before moving to New Zealand, Miriam held academic positions at the University of Oxford and Tilburg University.


Lillian Grace

Lillian Grace

Lillian is CEO and Founder of Figure.NZ, the first organisation globally to designate everyone as a user of data and to build systems and software to deliver to this standard. As a purpose driven social enterprise Figure.NZ is committed to democratising New Zealand’s data and getting it used effectively by everyone, without requiring intermediaries. 

Lillian is on the board of Te Pūnaha Matatini, New Zealand’s Centre of Research Excellence developing methods and approaches for transforming complex data about NZ into knowledge, tools, and insight. Previously Lillian was at Academy Award-Winning Massive Software, and think tank The New Zealand Institute.


Professor Rhema Vaithianathan

Professor Rhema VaithianathanRhema is a Professor in Economics at the Auckland University of Technology and a Senior Research Fellow and Visiting Professor at the Singapore Management University.

She is a health economist, and has had extensive experience on the implementation of predictive analytic tools and the use of big-data in health and social services. She is currently involved in over $11m of grants, with projects in New Zealand, the US and Singapore.



John Whitehead

John WhiteheadJohn (CNZM, MInstD) is a former Secretary to the Treasury and distinguished public servant, as well as Chair of the Data Futures Forum. He returned to New Zealand after spending two years in Washington as an Executive Director of the World Bank. John has acted as an Alternate Governor for both the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, and in his career at the Treasury held a number of roles, including Director Tax Policy and International Economics.

From 1988 to 1992 he represented New Zealand at the High Commission London, with special responsibility for economic and financial matters. John is currently undertaking pro-bono work for a number of charities.


Get in touch

If you’re a data innovator, leading thinker or doer, or have a unique skill or background that could help us with our work we’d love to hear from you. For general enquiries, invitations and journalist queries please email info@datafutures.co.nz