March 23, 2023, 7:02 p.m.
A new pilot programme has encouraged iwi involvement in this year's Census and has lifted the response rate for whānau living rurally in Te Taitokerau. The iwi and regional-led Census approach enables a positive working relationship with kaimahi and those participating in the Census.
"We've got great regionality, we can reach deep into the smaller communities, and this is efficiency for the crown in terms of if they don't have to do it, they can provide us to do it, but we have much better contact with those people," says George Riley, pou whakahaere at Te Rūnanga o Te Rarawa.
The pilot programme aims to boost Māori participation in three regions of the North Island, Te Taitokerau being one of them, after a low turnout in the 2018 Census.
"Currently, we are seeing that not many whānau are not living along our rural roads, our dusty roads; these are the same whānau who are submitting RFS', these are the same whanau who are coming into council to deliver their deputations, however statistically, we can't see that they are there," says Far North Councillor, Tāmati Rākena.
Spaces like marae and community houses have opened to encourage whānau to go in and complete their forms. Iwi and regional-led Census have also been trialling at-home visitation, where kaimahi will sit with the participant and offer support in the completion process. Pou whakahaere at Te Rūnanga o Te Rarawa George Riley believes this has helped improve the response rate in this year's Census because whānau are familiar with those delivering Census papers.
Due to the severity of Cyclone Gabrielle, extensions have been put in place for parts of Te Taitokerau to the end of May, allowing extra time for whānau to complete their Census.
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