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

New research puts Pacific climate crisis on the agenda for tangata whenua

New research by the University of Waikato has started important conversations with tangata whenua around…

Five people with certificates

Emerging climate change researcher scoops two awards

University of Waikato climate scientist Dr Luke Harrington has scooped two awards that recognise his…

Designing an inclusive citizenship model guided by Te Tiriti o Waitangi

Rapidly growing ethnic communities are projected to be about 30% of the population of Aotearoa…

Behind 200-year old Te Rā: the last Māori sail

After 200 years in residence in a British Museum storeroom, Te Rā has arrived home…

Walking into the future with eyes fixed on the past

Professor Tangiwai Rewi, newly appointed Te Amokapua (Dean), Te Pua Wānanga ki te Ao, is…

three people by conference screen

Don’t blame the mangroves!

A new study shows surprising results around coastal restoration, mangroves and sediment.

Dr Rebecca Lawton Rutherford Discovery Fellow

Prestigious Rutherford Discovery Fellowship awarded to Dr Rebecca Lawton for marine kelp research

Dr Rebecca Lawton, Senior Lecturer in Marine Science and Aquaculture at the University of Waikato…

Dr Tangiwai Rewi

Waikato alumna to lead Māori & Indigenous Studies

The University of Waikato’s Te Pua Wānanga ki te Ao, Faculty of Māori and Indigenous…

Dr Jason Mika

Significant funding boost for University of Waikato research

The University of Waikato has achieved significant results in the latest funding round from the…

Dr Haki Tuaupiki and Associate Professor Maui Hudson

Waikato researchers tapped for US$30m Centre for braiding Indigenous knowledge and science

Two University of Waikato researchers have been shoulder-tapped as investigators within the newly launched NSF…

Professor Chris Battershill

Renowned scientist honoured for dedication to marine conservation

World-renowned marine scientist Professor Chris Battershill has been honoured for his significant contributions to marine…

NZ Cyber Security Challenge 2021

Securing New Zealand’s future: Cyber Security Challenge celebrates 10 years

Tomorrow, Kiwis across the country will be at the University of Waikato for the 10th…