Building the Ngāti Tiipa Digital Pātaka

Vanessa Clark - IIRC20
Friday, November 20, 2020

This paper describes a Marsden Fund project (Counting our tūpuna) undertaken by researchers and whānau of Ngāti Tiipa. Hailing from Te Pūaha o Waikato - the area where the Waikato river meets the Tasman Sea - Ngāti Tiipa are one of the 33 iwi and hapū of the Waikato-Tainui confederation. Our project involves, among other things, the development of a cloud-based digital pātaka centred on historic whakapapa and whenua data.

We begin by describing the process by which we have developed a database of our 18th and 19th century tūpuna. Tiipa was the son of Paoa, the founding ancestor of Ngāti Paoa and the nephew of Mahuta, the eponymous ancestor of Ngāti Mahuta. Ngāti Tiipa are also joined by whakapapa to Marutūahu, Ngāti Tamaterā, Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Naho and Ngāti Te Ata, among others.

Ngāti Tiipa featured in a number of 19th century enumerations conducted by missionaries and colonial government officials, including an 1844 ‘census’ by missionary Robert Maunsell and the first 1857/58 census undertaken by Resident Magistrate Francis Fenton, who later presided over the Native Land Court. We set out how we have digitised this information – along with whakapapa and whenua data from state and church archives, land courts, vital data sets (e.g, births, deaths, marriages) and historical newspapers – and repurposed them, drawing on Ngāti Tiipa mātauranga, whānau whakapapa collections, and kōrero shared in marae-based wānanga. This information has been iteratively entered into a standard licensed genealogical database (Roots Magic) and we are now working with a data scientist to build our own custom whakapapa database (using Webtrees open source software based on GEDCOM standard files) in order to meet our specific needs. A key consideration is the capacity to represent and visualise the proliferation of intra-hapū and intrawhānau unions, and to classify and tag data using Ngāti Tiipa-specific concepts, terms and kupu.

The tūpuna database, along with whenua data and other Ngāti Tiipa digital resources, will sit within a cloud-based Ngāti Tiipa-controlled digital pātaka. The pātaka represents a Māori-centric view of data as taonga. It’s stewardship, security and access controls are guided by Ngāti Tiipa mana motuhake. Given the taonga nature of our data, we are working closely with whānau to develop whānau-centric tikanga and kawa to guide access and use of information, in order to safeguard the pātaka for future generations. In developing this tikanga and kawa, we have been guided by Te Mana Raraunga’s principles of Māori Data Sovereignty.