Mahi Tahi | Working Together


Digital Diversity, Collaboration, Inclusion

Friday 28 October, 2022

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Conference wrap-up

The theme for GOVIS 2022 was Mahi Tahi, which can be translated as ‘working together’ and encapsulates a sense of diversity, collaboration and inclusion. The protests at Parliament in February to March 2022 showed us what can happen when people feel excluded, divided, and not heard. The conference focused on how we can work together to deliver digital public services which are diverse, collaborative, and inclusive.

At the conference we connected, shared, and learned with people from NZ, Papua New Guinea, Australia, the private sector, academia, iwi, and NGOs like the Disabled People’s Assembly. We heard about real and inspiring examples of collaboration between public sector agencies, between central government and local government, and with iwi. And we saw how digital technology, data and services could help deliver a more inclusive society. I was inspired and educated, and hope you were too.

We heard from a variety of speakers:
  • Paul Hunt, the Chief Human Rights Commissioner, talked about human rights, Te Tiriti, and social cohesion. We heard about the origins of the UN Charter of Human Rights in the fight against fascism, the importance of meeting people face-to-face and listening, and the potential for digital inclusion to advance social cohesion.
  • Tahu Kukutai spoke about Indigenous Data Sovereignty in Aotearoa. She reminded us that data are not neutral, that data experts make human decisions and human errors, introduced us to the idea of collective privacy and the work going on to develop a coherent data governance framework that reflects Māori concerns.
  • Our panel on Opportunities and Challenges on the path to a trustworthy and inclusive data system was fascinating. Phil Pennington from Radio NZ chaired a lively and wide-ranging discussion, and many people told me this was the highlight of the conference for them. Panelists included Tahu Kukutai, Andrew Ecclestone from the Council for Civil Liberties, and Craig Jones from Stats NZ. Key themes that emerged were the importance of accountability and transparency, security, and to quote Andrew: ‘Get off Facebook’.
  • After lunch we broke up into streams and depending where you went you might have heard about digital inequality barriers to employment, virtual reading rooms, identifying Māori businesses, trust frameworks for AI and Automated Decision Making, Property Spines, questionnaire magicians, better access to justice in PNG, digital talent management, or central-local government collaboration.
  • Katrine Evans, the Government Chief Privacy Officer, hosted a panel discussion with Russell Cooke from Whaikaha, Claire Ruru from the Ministry of Education, and Kay Brereton from the Beneficiaries and Unwaged Workers Trust. The topic was how privacy thinking enables government agencies to build partnerships. We heard about the Data Protection and Use Policy and some of the ideas and principles behind it: remaining focused on your organisation’s purpose, the importance of feedback loops, ‘Mahitahitanga’, and ‘Nothing About Us Without Us’.
  • And at the end we heard from Rahul Watson Govindan, CEO of Loomio - a private sector take on how we can consult, listen, and share power more effectively. Rahul reminded us that we have more power and influence than we think, and talked about principles for inclusive decision making and the hard work that is needed to earn the right to make a decision.

Thanks to all of you come along - and watch this space for announcements about another GOVIS conference in June 2023!

Programme

GOVIS wish to acknowledge and thank our conference sponsors for their support