Māori descent information is used in conjunction with Māori electoral registrations to calculate the Māori electoral population, which is subsequently used to determine the number of Māori electorates. Māori descent information is also used for projections of the Māori descent population.
Māori descent is used as a routing question for iwi as they are formed through ancestry (whakapapa). Respondents who indicate they have Māori descent are asked to proceed to the iwi question and give the names of their iwi.
Two areas relating to Māori descent could be considered for 2018 to improve data quality:
- trying to reduce the non-response rate;
- reviewing how non-response to the Māori descent question is dealt with, given its role as a routing question for iwi affiliation.
A point often raised is that a person who answers the iwi affiliation question without responding to the Māori descent question could be assumed to have Māori descent.
Our current recommendations relating to Māori descent
- We recommend that Māori descent is included in the 2018 Census with no changes to the type of information collected, but that options for improving non-response be investigated.
See our preliminary view of 2018 Census content (page 26) for a more detailed discussion on Māori descent information
See 2013 Census information by variable for information on the Māori descent variable.