top of page

Case Study: A Principled Approach to Data Strategy

Nāu te rourou, nāku te rourou, ka ora ai te iwi With your food basket and my food basket the people will thrive

In 2021, Nicholson Consulting were commissioned by Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision (the audiovisual archive of Aotearoa) to provide a whakaaro Māori perspective on data to inform the development of their data strategy. This was a unique opportunity for us to apply our knowledge of Māori data in a different way and engage our strategic storytelling experts to produce Te Mātātupu ki te Rautaki Raraunga: Towards a Data Strategy.

Ngā Taonga align with Nicholson Consulting’s values in that they also believe the best mahi is created through strong relationships and genuine partnership. From our basket we contributed pukenga around a te ao Māori view of data and Ngā Taonga contributed from their basket archival expertise. In our first kōrero we focused on whakawhanaungatanga, getting to know people, first. Throughout the project, our approach was having many wāhanga style sessions which continued to focus on whakawhanungatanga and understanding the challenges and aspirations for the project at hand.

For any work in the strategy space, context, both internal and external, is incredibly important. As well as whakawhanungatanga, our process involved assessing the role and types of data at Ngā Taonga, analysis of current Ngā Taonga strategies, data infrastructure, and emerging data trends. It also involved consulting widely across the organisation and facilitating hui across a range of departments, internal teams, and sector colleagues of Ngā Taonga. Early on, it became clear that data principles were going to be an important component of the final deliverable. These principles would be inspired by many different pieces of mahi, including the Māori Data Sovereignty Principles. and would reflect the work Ngā Taonga has done to incorporate the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and uphold WAI262.

In complex and shifting environments, principles offer a common foundation to support conversation and prioritisation. Data principles can provide an underlying ethos for how an organisation considers, frames, and makes decisions that are informed and aligned. We quickly realised that Ngā Taonga were already doing things to develop more meaningful relationships with Māori, such as ensuring that kaitiaki have tino rangatiratanga over their taonga. Our wero was to develop principles specific to Ngā Taonga that would enable the organisation to continue to apply the same level of kaha and mana in the data space. The final report puts emphasis on how Ngā Taonga can give life to their principles.

Having collected a wide range of perspectives, aspirations, and knowledge through the process of developing this report, we were able to produce a document for Ngā Taonga that was future-focused, resonated with the Ngā Taonga metaphor of He pātaka tūturu, and centred in te ao Māori. The content of the final report included:

  • Analysis of future data trends and the associated risks / opportunities

  • Recommended data priority areas and supporting short, medium, and long-term initiatives

  • Recommended principles centred in te ao Māori to guide thinking and decision making in relation to data at Ngā Taonga

  • Framing of technology, data, applications and governance to align with He pātaka tūturu

  • Recommendations for how a Data Strategy would weave with and support existing strategies at Ngā Taonga

Ngā Taonga can use the ideas in this report to develop and implement a strong data strategy that interweaves with and supports the objectives of other key strategies across the organisation. This report will generate momentum for the important data journey the organisation is on.

We’re incredibly proud of the content of Te Mātātupu ki te Rautaki Raraunga: Towards a Data Strategy, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to use our collective skillset in a different way. This project was an example of genuine partnership, and, above all, we’d like to thank Ngā Taonga for undertaking this collaborative and meaningful haerenga alongside Nicholson Consulting.

Te Mātātupu ki te Rautaki Raraunga: Towards a Data Strategy was co-authored by Ernestynne Walsh and Lucy O'Connor and designed by Mahkaila Jones. If you'd like to chat about the components of a great data strategy and how whakaaro Māori can be applied to your data environment, get in touch by emailing

bottom of page