Breadcrumbs

Wānanga works to carve a pathway for Māori Artificial Intelligence

2 September 2022

Participants came from all around Aotearoa to take part in a two day hui to identify a pathway for Māori Artificial Intelligence

A hui that brought together Artificial Intelligence experts from all over around the motu has started laying the pathway for the future of Māori data sovereignty.

The Māori AI Wānanga, hosted by the AI Institute, TAIAO and Tikanga in Technology project teams at the University of Waikato earlier this week, stretched over two days and included workshops and discussions around understanding AI, decolonising algorithms, Māori involvement in AI and where AI in Aotearoa should be heading.

University of Waikato Associate Dean, Māori, Associate Professor Te Taka Keegan (Waikato-Maniapoto, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Whakaaue) says the timing is right because Māori have an opportunity to shape AI and how it can best benefit Māori.

“AI fits into all fields. We’ve had people talking about it in terms of the environment and how AI can lead us through the environment. Some have been talking about language and how AI can assist us with language, using AI tools to speak Māori, have conversations in Māori and speak back to us in Māori.

"We’re trying to shape the AI that's already happening so that it's more appropriate for Māori, as opposed to being detrimental to Māori.”

University of Waikato Associate Dean, Māori, Associate Professor Te Taka Keegan (Waikato-Maniapoto, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Whakaaue) says it's time to start shaping AI for the benefit of Māori

Te Taka says there’s a lot of data now available, which is necessary for good AI, but not all data about Māori is under Māori autonomy and authority, and that’s something that needs to be rectified.

“We need to get access to and ownership of the existing data so we can start using it for Māori purposes, not just government purposes. And we need to repatriate that data, so Māori can protect, maintain and refine that data in a manner that is suitable to Māori.

"Data has been collected by government agencies from a colonial perspective. What we really want to do as Māori is to be in a position where we collect our own data from our own perspectives, because it will look different,” Te Taka says.  “The true essence of Māori data sovereignty is when Māori are not accessing data from someone else, as a perspective of someone else's collection, but when we're actually defining, creating,  shaping, storing and having authority over our own data, collected from our own unique world view.”

Māori data sovereignty, in its truest form, is a long way off, but the conversations and connections that have been made over the last two days are shaping a pathway to this future.

“We’ve got Māori researchers working in different sectors and working on different problems – we’re getting them all thinking along the same lines so that ultimately, we can combine our work for the greater benefit of Māori,” Te Taka says.


This research aligns with the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals:

Quality Education Decent Work and Economic Growth Reduced Inequalities Climate Action Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions Partnerships for the goals

Latest stories

Related stories

Waikato shines bright in a sea of stars at science awards

University of Waikato scientists and researchers shone brightly in a stellar showcase of science talent…

Seven scholarships announced on Kīngitanga Day support rangatahi and the environment

Seven University of Waikato undergraduate students have been awarded the Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu…

Study offers first comprehensive assessment of extreme heat risks across Aotearoa

A new University of Waikato-led study, published this week in Climatic Change, has provided a…

University provides Māori youth with STEM opportunities

It was a taste of University life for 76 Māori high school students from around…

Fayaz Aziz / Reuters / Alamy Pakistan floods: what role did climate change play?

Pakistan is experiencing the most devastating and widespread floods in its history, with the country’s…

Research into Great White Sharks in Bay of Plenty set to begin

A new project bringing together local iwi, marine ecologists, fisheries scientists and shark experts will…

University’s decarbonisation plans get a boost

The University of Waikato is closer to its goal of being carbon neutral by 2030,…

How the Ice Ages spurred the evolution of New Zealand’s weird and wiry native plants

Recent genetic research has shed new light on the long-running debate about the evolutionary origins…

Unraveling the misinformation web

An international study into the web of online information about spiders shows how the internet…

Waikato hub for Sustainability Summit Series

The University of Waikato, Waikato Tainui, Te Pūkenga, and the Waikato Wellbeing Project are proud…

Shining light on the potential of indigenous research, science and innovation

University of Waikato welcomes yesterday’s announcement of the government’s investment in Māori research, science and…

University design student collaborates with global creative group

A bright blue avatar created by a University of Waikato design student is on show…