16 Jun 2024

Te Whatu Ora's Māori data sovereignty tool not yet ready

9:43 pm on 16 June 2024
Closeup shot of a unrecognizable business person typing on a laptop keyboard

Photo: Manuel Faba / 123rf

The central health agency is not yet ready to implement a tech tool to help protect Māori data sovereignty.

Te Whatu Ora needs the tool as part of a five-year overhaul of out-of-date IT across public hospitals, which it has just begun.

Its papers said the area of sovereign control and access to Māori health data was "particularly complex".

The Māori Health Agency - which is being ditched from July - has developed the first tech tool after getting the go-ahead from the Iwi-Māori Partnership Boards being set up around the country.

It was a "priority piece of work", a Health NZ briefing to Health Minister Shane Reti said.

"This tool allows users to self-assess their work against a range of domains."

However, Te Whatu Ora told RNZ the tool was at a very early stage.

"It has not been assessed or implemented yet."

It was still considering what resources to put into developing the tool further, Kingi Kiriona, maiaka/head of mātauranga Māori, said in a statement.

Māori data specialists have expressed concern that developing the tools did not outpace getting a framework for their use in place. The Māori Health Agency said in 2023 that it was focussed on that.

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