University Of Tasmania
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Recognition and indigenizing official statistics: Reflections from Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-18, 16:57 authored by Kukutai, T, Margaret WalterMargaret Walter
In First World colonised nations such as Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia, population statistics form the evidentiary base for how Indigenous peoples are known and ‘managed’ through state policy approaches. Yet, population statistics are not a neutral counting. Decisions of what and how to count reflect particular assumptions about Indigenous identity, ways of life and wellbeing. More often than not, the requirements and priorities of government take precedence over the informational needs and priorities of Indigenous communities. Whereas National Statistics Offices (NSOs) once rendered Indigenous peoples invisible in official statistics through non-recognition, the more pressing problem in the 21st century is that of misrecognition. In seeking to move beyond statistical misrecognition, we propose a set of guiding principles for bringing government reporting frameworks and Indigenous concepts of identity and wellbeing into closer proximity. We argue that a principled approach to collecting, disseminating and analysing Indigenous data not only avoids misrecognising Indigenous peoples but enhances the functionality of official statistics for Indigenous peoples and NSOs alike


Publication title

Statistical Journal of the IAOS








School of Social Sciences



Place of publication

I O S Press

Rights statement

?Copyright 2015 – IOS Press and the authors. All rights reserved. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License.

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Expanding knowledge in human society