July 05, 2023
Werata led way for Māori statistics
One of the government’s top Māori statisticians says the late Whetumarama Wereta was a visionary who found new ways to capture and report Māori data.
Ms Wereta died last week and has been buried at Ratana Pa next to her husband Tumanako Werata.
Darin Bishop says in her 50-year career, including being the first manager of Māori statistics at the Department of Statistics, she mentored countless young Māori public servants.
She argued better Māori statistical data would lead to better outcomes for Māori across key policy areas like education, health, employment and economic development.
“I think Māori data experts like professor Tahu Kukutai and Kirikowhai Mikaere would both agree that Whetu’s legacy and contribution have been instrumental in the way Māori and iwi data sovereignty, in data government movements – that they’re leading today – has been related to the vision that Whetu set all the way back then,” Mr Bishop says.
He says a continuing challenge to gathering Māori statistical data is that many Māori don’t trust the system.