Informed decision-making through the ethical use of data.

27–28 September 2018

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington
Brought to you by Stats NZ



Announcing Stats NZ's Data Summit

For the first time, Stats NZ will host a 2-day summit on informed decision-making through the ethical use of data.

We’ll discuss balancing the tensions between data innovation and protecting privacy – ensuring New Zealanders have trust and confidence in the way their data is used. We’ll learn about data sovereignty from an international and New Zealand perspective. And we'll take an in-depth look at privacy, ethics and algorithms.

The Speakers

Click their images to read bios

Cathy O'Neil

Author New York Times best seller

Weapons of Math Destruction

Hon James Shaw

Minister of Statistics

Liz MacPherson

Government Chief Data Steward

& Chief Executive, Stats NZ

Jonathan Dewar

Executive Director, First Nations Information Governance Centre

Tahu Kukutai

Professor, Te Rūnanga Tātari Tatauranga

& Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato

Amy Fletcher

Associate Professor, Department of Political Science and International Relations, University of Canterbury

Colin Gavaghan

Associate Professor, Faculty of Law,

Otago University

James Maclaurin

Professor, Department of Philosophy,

Otago University

Scott Donaldson

Record-breaking Tasman kayaker

John Edwards

Privacy Commissioner

Sam Daish

General Manager, Data Innovation – Xero

Mike Riversdale

Mike explains stuff,

connects people and gets things done

Pallas Hupé Cotter

Award-winning US television journalist, anchor, reporter, and producer

Our MCs

Day 1

Programme Thursday 27 September 2018


Mihi Whakatau


Pallas Hupé Cotter

Emmy award-winning US television journalist, anchor, reporter, and producer Pallas Hupé Cotter will navigate us through a day of keynote presentations that will take your interest in data to a whole new level.


Hon James Shaw, Minister of Statistics

What matters gets measured | Transparency and accountability

Using existing data to help model possible outcomes is an important part of modern government decision-making. Algorithms search for patterns in relevant data to help model potential outcomes that could occur given different circumstances. Minister Shaw will discuss the benefits and challenges of using data to make a positive difference to New Zealanders, the importance of transparency, and Government accountability.


Liz MacPherson, Government Chief Data Steward

We can, but should we? | Balancing the tensions between innovation and protection

It’s increasingly important for New Zealanders to understand how their personal data is used. As momentum and capability builds to do more with data, consistent processes and stewardship are needed across government to ensure the right balance is struck between greater data use and protecting public interest.


Cathy O’Neil, author New York Times bestseller Weapons of Math Destruction

Weapons of Math Destruction | Algorithms that are secret, important and harmful

Algorithms decide who gets a loan, who gets a job interview, who gets insurance, and much more – but they don't automatically make things fair. Cathy will uncover the dark secrets of big data, showing how ‘objective’ algorithms could in fact reinforce human bias. The mathematician, data scientist, and author will also talk about the agendas behind the formulas, and options for using data responsibly.


Morning Tea


Liz MacPherson, Government Chief Data Steward

Data sovereignty

Liz will set the scene around the government’s approach to data management, which considers the unique and different perspectives of key stakeholders, including iwi and Māori.

Dr Jonathan Dewar, Executive Director, First Nations Information Governance Centre

First Nations perspective

Jonathan will provide an international perspective on how FNIGC is balancing the collection and protection of information about First Nations people.

Professor Tahu Kukutai, Te Rūnanga Tātari Tatauranga & Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato

New Zealand perspective

Tahu will talk about Māori data sovereignty and the opportunities and challenges in the context of big data and integrated data in Aotearoa.




Associate Professor Amy Fletcher, Department of Political Science and International Relations, University of Canterbury

Artificial Intelligence, automation and employment in the US

New and fast-changing technologies – such as 3-D printing, self-driving cars, and machine learning – will bring significant new opportunities. Technological disruption to business-as-usual, and rapid political and economic change, is forcing organisations to adapt and necessitating innovative approaches to education and social support.

Amy will look at key issues arising in the US, starting with an overview of some key workplace developments, with a focus on AI-enabled technologies, and the changing nature of work. She’ll then consider the political challenges of the technological revolution, drawing on examples from threatened sectors, and those poised to thrive in the 21st century economy. The session finishes with a look at the broader ethics of AI and the possibility of using technology to revitalise American democracy.


Associate Professor Colin Gavaghan, Faculty of Law, Otago University

Professor James Maclaurin, Department of Philosophy, Otago University

AI technologies | Maximising benefits, minimising potential harm

AI is coming at us before we fully understand what it might mean. Established ways of doing things in areas like transport regulation, crime prevention and legal practice are being challenged by new technologies such as driverless cars, crime prediction software and 'AI lawyers'. AI technologies pose fascinating legal, practical and ethical challenges, which require interdisciplinary solutions.


Afternoon tea


Speakers: Liz MacPherson, Cathy O’Neil, Jonathan Dewar, John Edwards, Sam Daish

Panel discussion: We can, but should we? | Ethical use of data

The panel will give their views – both the New Zealand and international perspectives – and respond to your questions on how we balance the mix of creating better outcomes for people while ensuring we maintain the trust and confidence they have in us managing their data.


Pallas Hupé Cotter

Wrap up

Summarising key themes and setting the scene for tomorrow’s open space sessions.


Scott Donaldson, record-breaking Tasman kayaker

Blood, sweat and data | Double ditch success

Data played a critical part in Scott Donaldson’s incredible journey, as the first solo kayaker to successfully cross the Tasman Sea – the ‘double ditch’.

Scott will share his story of 84-days of straight paddling across the Tasman … and what it was like arriving in New Plymouth to fireworks and cheers from supporters gathered on Ngamotu Beach.


Close of Day 1

Day 2

Programme Friday 28 September 2018


Registration with coffee and tea


Mike Riversdale


With a knack for bringing techies and non-techies together to break down boundaries to increase understanding, self-confessed internet evangelist Mike Riversdale (aka Miramar Mike) will lead our ‘unconference’ adventure.

An ‘unconference’ format will provide the opportunity for in-depth group discussions based on emerging themes from Day 1. The format will create space for peer-to-peer learning, collaboration and creativity.


Discussion session


Morning tea


Discussion session




Indicators Aotearoa NZ

Data is required to make the best decisions by everyone in New Zealand. We have moved beyond using GDP as the leading indicator for measuring the progress of society.

Stats NZ will outline the work it is doing to provide a comprehensive set of measures. Stats NZ will discuss how these will provide a framework for the use of data to make decisions and highlight gaps in the data available to do this.


Close of Day 2

Brought to you by

Thanks to our sponsors

Te Papa is New Zealand’s iconic and innovative national museum located in the heart of Wellington’s beautiful waterfront. As well as being a six level museum, it is also a unique conference and functions venue that combines serious business with outstanding hospitality. Oceania is located on level 3 of the Museum, it offers plenty of natural light and superb views of Wellington’s Marina and Waitangi Park.

The venue

In the heart of the coolest little capital…

There’s no time to lose

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Buy your tickets for the DATASUMMIT'18 now!