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Maori descent


A person has 'Māori descent' if they are of the Māori race of New Zealand. This includes any descendant of such a person.

Relationship to questionnaire(s)

Data on Māori descent comes from question 14 on the individual form (PDF 395kb).

Subject population

The subject population is the people, families, households or dwellings to whom the variable applies.

The subject population for this variable is the census usually resident population.

Non-response rate

The 2006 non-response rate was 9.6 percent.

The 2001 non-response rate was 10.3 percent.

Quality Management Strategy priority level

Māori descent is a defining variable.

The Census Quality Management Strategy assigns a priority level to all census variables.

Defining variables cover key subject populations that are important for policy development, evaluation or monitoring. These variables are given secondary priority in terms of quality, time and resources across all phases of the 2006 Census.

All data must meet minimum quality standards in order to make it suitable for use.

Comparability with 1996 and 2001 Census data

There are issues affecting the comparability of this data with the 1996 and 2001 Census data:

  • The 1996 version of the question asked about 'NZ Māori' descent, whereas the 2001 and 2006 questions asked about 'Māori descent'. As a result of this change, the 2001 Census saw an increase from 1996 in the number of Cook Island Maori who have Māori descent but not Māori ethnicity. However, the 2006 data is comparable with 2001, as there was no change between the two questions.

Significant issues

The non-response rate for the older age groups (90 years and over) was high at over 20 percent. While the non-response rate for this age group was high, it should be noted that the overall non-response rate to the Māori descent question has declined in 2006 compared with 2001, and, given the small population size in the 90 years and over age group, the higher non-response rate does not significantly affect overall data quality. However, it is advisable to use some caution when analysing Māori descent for this age group.

Other things to be aware of

  • The 2006 version of the question had a specific questionnaire routing instruction to 'look for the 'go to' instruction after you answer the question'. The question wording used in 2001 did not include this routing instruction.
  • Historically, iwi have only been counted when the respondent has given a positive response to Māori descent, and the Māori descent question design is intended to route people with no Māori descent to the question after iwi, so that they do not answer the iwi question. However, in 2001, there were over 16,000 people who did not answer the Māori descent question, but gave one or more valid responses to the iwi question, and over 1,000 who said they did not have Māori descent but gave a valid iwi. From 2001 all iwi data has been collected.
  • All census data was subject to considerable checks (including edits) during processing and evaluation, to ensure that it meets quality standards and is suitable for use. These checks were applied to data supplied both on paper and on Internet forms. In addition to these quality checks, the Internet form had built-in editing functionality that directed respondents to the appropriate questions and ensured that their responses were valid. As a result of this, data from Internet forms may be of higher overall quality than data from paper forms. The significance of this will depend on the particular type of analysis being done.
  • There were differences between how the forms were completed on the Internet and on paper for this variable:
    • The Internet form allowed only one response to be selected for the Māori descent question. If a further response was selected, the response given previously disappeared. Multiple responses to this question were possible when forms were completed on paper.
    • For people who stated that they were overseas visitors, the Māori descent question disappeared from the Internet form, so they could not answer it unless they changed their answer to the 'usual residence' question. When forms were completed on paper, it was possible for overseas visitors to answer this question. This does not affect the quality of the data, however, as these respondents are not part of the subject population, and are therefore removed when the data is output.
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