Māori descent

SD Sophie Davies Public Seen by 315

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.


Luke (kaiwhakarite) Tue 28 Apr 2015 12:21AM

E aku nui, e aku rahi nau mai haere mai ki tēnei pae korero. Tukuna mai o koutou whakaaro, o koutou korero hoki mo te kaupapa nui nei.

Welcome to this discussion page. I look forward to your thoughts on this topic Māori Descent.

Ko au te kaiwhakarite mo te kaupapa nei, na reira nau mai haere mai.

I am the facilitator for this particular topic so welcome one and all.


Kirikowhai Mikaere Thu 4 Jun 2015 4:08AM

Kia ora ano Luke

I wanted to advocate for the importance of this variable and also the importance of more census products using this variable e.g. a maori descent profile in 2018. I agree their needs to be work on the non-response rate but question the continued link of the Iwi affiliation data to the Māori descent variable. For example, why do we only count those Iwi responses where the respondent has ticked 'yes' to Māori descent. Can we count (and therefore clean and output) all Iwi responses?

ngā mihi


Luke (kaiwhakarite) Thu 4 Jun 2015 6:34AM

A good point you raise around the connection between the descent question and the iwi affiliation question Kiri. It is good that for the first time since 2001 we are able to consider this very point around how to deal with non response to descent question but still listing an iwi. I know there has been much interest over the years here at StatsNZ about why people might choose (or forget possibly) not to fill out this particularly question about whether they are descended from a Māori yet go on to then list an iwi or a number of iwi. This is something that we will be considering if not directly in the content phase then more likely in the processing and output phases of the 2018 Census programme.