Iwi Data: Collection and Use

The Ministry is implementing collection of iwi affiliations of students in early childhood centres, schools and tertiary education organisations. This page provides background on why the information is important, how it will be collected and what it will be used for.

Iwi Classification CodesUpdated: Feb-2018

On this page:

Why collect iwi affiliation of students?

Iwi are concerned about the educational outcomes of their children

Iwi are increasingly interested in the educational outcomes of their people. They see education as an important element in their development strategies and an important factor in ensuring the future health and well being of their people. Increasingly, the Ministry is being approached by iwi for information on the educational participation and achievement of their people.

It helps education providers know who to work with in their Māori communities

Finding out students' iwi affiliations helps education providers know more about the background of their students. This helps them identify which iwi and hapu they need to be developing relationships with and what issues need to be addressed within those relationships.

Pathways to the Future: Nga Huarahi Arataki (Early Childhood Sector Strategic Plan) - includes an expectation that centres will focus on Māori participation and work to understand more about what their children need. This includes building relationships with Māori communities and iwi.

The National Administration Guidelines - require schools to consult with their Māori community to develop policies, plans and targets for improving the achievement of Māori students. To do this effectively, they must develop relationships with their local iwi and hapu and have an understanding of the participation of iwi members within their school.

The Tertiary Education Strategy includes a key change focus on developing effective partnerships with Māori communities, including iwi. It requires tertiary education providers to establish accountability of tertiary providers to Māori communities and make active contributions to iwi development. It also requires that information be available to iwi to support their engagement with the tertiary sector.

The Ministry is working with iwi to improve education outcomes

The Ministry is developing relationships with iwi to reduce disparities and raise achievement for Māori. The relationships provide an opportunity for the Ministry, iwi and education providers to deliver new and innovative educational services to Māori. The Ministry is also engages with iwi in a variety of other situations, such as through the work of its local offices and the Whakaaro Matauranga project. Information on iwi participation in education at each level will be very useful in this work.

How is the information collected?

Education providers (early childhood centres, schools and tertiary education organisations) are required to collect the information when they enrol students. Enrolment forms need to allow space for students (or parents and caregivers) to enter up to three iwi affiliations. They can write in "Don't know" if they don't know about their iwi affiliations.

Providers are required to code this information to the Statistics New Zealand Standard Classification of Iwi. These codes have been sent out to all providers. Copies are available at the bottom of the page. The codes are incorporated into the student management systems approved by the Ministry.

The iwi codes are organised into regional groupings. There is an additional set of codes for people who do not know their iwi, but know the waka or confederation name. At the end, there are several codes for people who do not know their iwi or do not wish to respond to the question.

Providers will submit this information as part of their regular roll or statistical returns to the Ministry.

Providers are also expected to use this information for their own planning purposes. In particular to inform the development of relationships with iwi groups in their community.


Tertiary providers have been required to provide iwi affiliation of all first year Māori students from 2002. Many providers have also provided comprehensive information on Māori students who had first enrolled in previous years.

Schools using a computerised student management system are required to provide iwi affiliation of all Māori students who started at their school after 1 January 2003. The information is submitted to the Ministry through electronic roll returns. Schools can choose to collect and record the information for students who enrolled prior to 1 January 2003. This information will automatically come through on the electronic roll returns.

Early childhood providers are also required to provide iwi affiliation for all Māori children that enrol with their centres after 1 January 2003. This information is collected in the July census. They can also report it for children who enrolled prior to that date, if they have the information.

How is iwi affiliation information used?

The information is used by iwi, education providers and the Ministry at a statistical level to:

  • Gain an overall understanding of educational participation and outcomes for specific iwi
  • Stimulate local level discussion between iwi, education providers and the Ministry on options for raising iwi participation and outcomes
  • Promote educational issues and options to iwi members.

Collecting iwi affiliation also provides information about Māori who are not affiliated to any iwi. This information is important for education providers and Ministry to understand the extent to which iwi-based initiatives reach Māori students and whether other types of initiatives may be required.

Questions and issues

What if a student does not identify as Māori but affiliates to an iwi?

Some people will affiliate to an iwi but may, for various reasons, not identify as Māori. Where a student, who doesn't identify themselves as Māori, wants to note their affiliation to an iwi, this opportunity will be provided.

What if students (or parents and caregivers) object to answering the question?

It needs to be understood that the information is only being used for statistical purposes to inform planning and services. However, students (or parents and caregivers) are not required to answer the question. There is allowance made in the classification for people who don't know what their iwi is or refuse to answer the question.

How can students (or parents) find out which iwi they come from?

Their first approach should be to ask family members for information on where their ancestors were from. If they know the region or area their ancestors were from, they may be able to get additional information from the iwi authorities, trust boards or runanga in that area. Contact details for these organisations can be found in Takoa: Te aka kumara o Aotearoa; a directory of Māori organisations, which is held by most public libraries.

Why are only up to three affiliations being collected?

The Ministry has decided to limit the number of affiliations in order to keep the data collection and processing requirements simple. In the 1996 NZ Census, 93% of people who identified an iwi affiliation, identified less than three iwi. Therefore, up to three affiliations should be sufficient for most people. The Ministry will review its approach from time to time, based on the extent to which multiple responses are received.

Why is the Statistics NZ classification being used?

Using the Statistics NZ classification means that education data can be compared to data from the NZ Census and other agencies. This means that iwi, education providers and the Ministry can get a broader, consistent picture of what is going on.

Why do some iwi not appear on the classification?

The classification has been set up for statistical purposes. It is not meant to be used as a final definitive list of iwi. There is always some degree of discussion about what constitutes an iwi and which groups and names should be included. The classification is revised following each Census to reflect changes over time.

What if providers are interested in more detailed information on affiliation to local hapu and iwi?

Providers can record more detailed information if they want to. This would require setting up a list that has the more detailed level information on it and matching it to the Statistics New Zealand codes for the purposes of reporting to the Ministry.

What information can be provided to iwi authorities or runanga?

Since the information is collected only for statistical purposes, only statistical level information can be released to other parties, including iwi authorities and runanga. This means providing tables that show numbers of students by various factors, such as year of schooling. These need to be presented at a sufficiently high level so that it is not possible to identify individual students from them. For example, not showing details where there are only a few students from one iwi in an early childhood centre, school or tertiary institution. The Ministry and education providers cannot provide individual student records to any other organisation, unless they have consent from the student or their parent or guardian.

The information can be requested by any member of the public under the Official Information Act, but must be provided in a statistical form.

Historical Iwi Classification Downloads

Where to find out more

Contact Us

Education Data Requests
If you have any questions about education data then please contact us at:
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