Case studies

Census information is used to inform how billions of dollars in government funding is distributed across New Zealand. Every year, census information is used by councils, iwi and businesses to make the case for improvements within their communities. Read the case studies below to see the power of data in action.

Census data is being used to inform an initiative to improve unhealthy housing conditions in Maketu, a small coastal town in Western Bay of Plenty. The changes have created a number of unforeseen and welcome benefits for children and whanau.

E whakamahia ana ngā raraunga tatauranga ki te whakamōhio i tētahi kōkiri ki te whakapai ake i ngā āhuatanga noho kore haumaru o ngā whare i Maketū, tētahi tāone matāwhanga ki te hauāuru o Te Moana-a-Toi. Nā ngā panoni nei kua puta mai te maha o ngā painga matawhawhati, whai hua anō hoki ki ngā tamariki me ngā whānau.

Hiahia ki te pānui i tēnei kōrero i te reo? Pāwhiri ki konei.

The Healthy Whare Project aims to improve housing conditions in Maketu and surrounding areas with an overall goal of enhancing the health, safety, and wellbeing of the community.

The initiative started when the Maketu waste water system upgrades were being installed by Western Bay of Plenty District Council in 2012. During this work, 14 properties were identified as possibly being below standard living conditions. 

Many residents suffered from health ailments such as asthma, coughs and colds, arthritis, and respiratory problems. 

It was such a concern that Western Bay of Plenty District Council convened a meeting with organisations to discuss what could be done to improve housing conditions.

Census data was used to identify the needs of the community. This included looking at total personal income, housing tenure, employment, and education levels.

The Healthy Whare Project was formed and a plan developed for how they could deliver healthy homes. 

To date more than 80 whanau have taken advantage of initiatives such as the provision of insulation, addressing plumbing, roofing, spouting, basic carpentry, and electrical issues.

Western Bay of Plenty District Council Senior Policy Analyst Jodie Rickard said, “Census data has been a huge input into the project to date.

“We’re really excited about the upcoming 2018 data which will give us insights into dampness, mould, and access to basic amenities. The more information we have to identify vulnerable people in our communities the more able we are to help them.”

Residents were able to attend DIY workshops on keeping their homes warmer and drier along with workshops on energy efficiency.

Healthy Whare Project co-ordinator Maria Horne from Te Runanga o Ngati Whakaue ki Maketu said, “Whanau well-being improved when repairs to the home were carried out.  The whanau dynamics became less stressed and happier.  The kids became more confident, more smiles on faces, and more of them going to school.”

Whanau also became more motivated to improve their homes by building fences, painting their homes, and planting gardens.

“One aspect of concern is overcrowding in housing; more young people are returning home to live because of the cost of renting.   Tangata whenua whanau have generations living together because of housing unaffordability.”

The Healthy Whare Project was formed with groups including Te Runanga o Ngati Whakaue ki Maketu, Te Puni Kokiri, Sustainability Options, Tauranga  Community Housing Trust, Habitat for Humanity, Toi Te Ora- Public Health services, Bay Trust, TECT, and the Bay of Plenty District Health Board.

The aged care sector is one of many groups in New Zealand benefiting from census data. Aged care is one of the most pressing planning issues for New Zealand and our aging population. This is especially the case for Oamaru in Waitaki.

Ko te rāngai tiaki kaumātua tētahi o ngā rōpū whānui o Aotearoa e whaihua ana i ngā raraunga tatauranga. Ko te Tiaki Kaumātua tētahi tino kaupapa whakaritenga ō Aotearoa. Koia rawatia te take mō Oamaru ki Waitaki.

2013 Census data highlighted that Waitaki has a significantly higher proportion of over 65s than the national average: 20.0 percent of the total population is over 65, in comparison to the national average of 12.3 percent. The number of over 65s in the region is projected to increase by 73.0 percent from 2011 to 2036.

Waitaki District Health Services Trust board member and aged care facilities provider Ian Hurst said, “We saw a gap in the provision of care for the elderly when we were looking at future planning for health services in the Waitaki district.”

“In 2015 we looked at the 2013 census data to see what was coming.  We planned on the basis that all current providers in Waitaki would continue to be providers. We anticipated that beds would be full over an 18-month period.

“But with the closure of two aged care facilities, they were filled from day one. We did not believe that there was any private or public investment likely to take place, so Waitaki District Healthcare Trust took the initiative.”

There is an urgent need for new accommodation for Waitaki’s aged-care residents.

Observatory Hill retirement village, a 41-bed facility, is Waitaki District Council’s newest community owned retirement village, in Oamaru.  It is owned by the Waitaki District Health Services Trust – which is the trust for the local hospital.

“Observatory Hill is crucial as accommodation for a growing number of elderly residents,” said Hurst.

“Census data is very important. Once we have accurate details on the number of over 65s and over 75s, we can factorise the percentage likely to end up in aged-care,” said Hurst.

“The median house prices are also critically important when it comes to considering independent living in apartments or villas.  There is no point building half million dollar villas, if the community can only afford a median house price of $280,000.

“We commissioned independent peer review of work done on this by an investment banker. It was peer reviewed by national valuation companies. These companies rely heavily on census data for housing valuations.”

Ian Hurst had a plea to all those in his community – please fill out the census.

“The census does not fully represent what we have in the Waitaki District. I think we have a gap in the data around individual’s ethnicity.  This is very important for decision making for all people living within our region and we would encourage everyone to participate in next year’s Census.

Waimakariri Youth Council are using census data to identify issues affecting youth in their area. They are developing ways of using data to demonstrate what they need and what they want for their community.

Kei te whakamahi te Kaunihera Rangatahi o Waimakariri i ngā raraunga tatauranga kia whakamōhio ai ngā kaupapa e pāpāngia ana i ngā rangatahi o taua rohe. E whakawhanaketia ana e rātou ētahi huarahi whakamahi raraunga kia mohio ai he aha o rātou hiahia me o rātou hiahia mō te hapori.

“In 2009, WaiYouth were a group of young people working together looking at issues within the community. They wanted more of a voice,” said Youth Development Facilitator Leanne Bayler.

Waimakariri District Council undertook widespread consultation with young people in 2009. A youth strategy was developed in 2010. The strategy was informed by a wide range of census data including employment, level of education, time in the district, where people go for work and recreation, and age demographics.

The Waimakariri Youth Council was formed out of this strategy. They provide leadership opportunities and a greater voice for local young people. The council are aged between 13 and 24 years and live in the Waimakariri District. The mayor and councillors attend their meetings, and the Youth Council provides a way for the needs and aspirations of young people to be translated into action. 

Waimakariri Youth Council Co-chair and Community Board member Thomas Robson, 21, said, We use census data to give a clear snapshot of our community when we are seeking funding. We do long term planning around use of sporting facilities and the number of young people who live in the area.”

A number of key Youth Council initiatives really stand out, Robson explains.

“I am hot on getting skate parks, so having the numbers of young people who use them is key. I’ve been fighting hard to get one in Oxford.

“We are looking forward to census data on home ownership to help us start up some educational workshops about buying a house. If you don’t have a supportive family to help you or to tell you how to go about buying a house, then you won’t know how any of that works.”

The Waimakariri area has changed significantly after the 2010 and 2011 Canterbury earthquakes.

“We have had massive growth with people coming out from Christchurch. The whole dynamic of the community has changed over the last six years. We have lost a lot of community spaces, it has changed how we interact and how young people live their lives.

“People don’t realise how much the community has changed. The 2018 Census will help us understand this.”

Waimakariri is north of Christchurch.

A new tool is helping create better outcomes across the community sport sector. The tool combines census data with sport, recreation, health, population, and schools data to build understanding about what to focus on across the sector.

Sport NZ’s interactive Insights Tool is enabling users to develop a better understanding of New Zealand’s changing population and the ways people are participating in sport and recreation.

In 2016, Sport NZ Intelligence Team Manager Hamish McEwen developed the tool as an interactive online repository of information and data to help the sport and active recreation sector better understand their participants and plan for future demand.

The tool uses census data on population counts, sex, ethnicity, and household types. Graphs produced using this data allow users to quickly see how population density varies across regions and where clusters of population are located.

The tool supports Sport NZ’s ultimate goal of getting more people active and helping them develop a life-long love of sport and active recreation. It supports informed decision-making by sports organisations, funding bodies, territorial authorities, and government agencies. It helps them determine where to invest resources for the greatest benefit to the community.

So far, the tool which has saved time for users, has had good uptake, with upwards of 400 users.

Sports NZ’s General Manager Community Sport, Geoff Barry, said New Zealand’s rapidly changing demographic profile and changing lifestyles increase the need for the kind of insights the tool provides.   

“With this information the community sport sector can better understand, and target participants, and subsequently better meet their needs,” he said.

Geoff said councils, and regional sports trusts are creating profiles for their regions and the data is powerful.

“When we see proposals or people justifying an investment or spending resources, we can see there has been some analysis using the profile tool.”

Harbour Sport, in Auckland, have used the tool to help them prioritise work in their Auckland community. “Our vision is a community physically fit for life,” said Harbour Sport Community Sport Engagement Manager Kevin O’Leary.

The tool enabled Harbour Sport staff to compare overall demographics and specific data. It proved to be most useful in helping the Community Sport Team decide where to concentrate their efforts. They were able to obtain insights into ethnicities and age groups relevant to the Sport NZ Community Sport Strategy.

“Using the insights tool with local knowledge of the area, we were able to prioritise the five communities in which we were going to concentrate the majority of our work,” Kevin said.

The Insights tool is regularly updated and Sport NZ is looking forward to a fresh round of data to draw on following the 2018 Census.

View the tool at:

The Canterbury Mayoral Forum wanted 4G broadband fast tracked in rural Canterbury. Digital connectivity, especially fast broadband, is critical for thriving communities. Census data was used in Spark’s business case. 

Canterbury Mayor Damon Odey said, “Our region needs fast broadband and reliable mobile coverage. Our rural communities should not be left behind. 

In 2015 Mayor Odey invited senior leaders from Spark to come down and meet with people from the primary industries and food manufacturing sectors, lines companies, and local authorities. Part of the conversation was about what they would do with fast broadband ithey had it. 

Spark agreed to investigate the business case for accelerating its 4G broadband rollout, and asked for information on the number of rural households in Canterbury.  

2013 Census data was used to estimate the number of rural households across the region, household income, and whether households had internet access at the time of the census. 

Stats NZ Census Advocate and Mayoral Forum secretariatDr David Bromell said, Census data informed Spark’s decision making. We also gave Spark a single point of contact in each council to check consenting requirements. Because the 11 councils in Canterbury work together, it made it possible for Spark to develop 12-month, whole-of-region solution, instead of tackling the 4G upgrade piecemeal, over two to three years.”  

In 2016, wireless 4G broadband was rolled out across the region to supplement fixed-line broadband. 

The investment in infrastructure is to ensure that some of the biggest sectors that operate in rural Canterbury – such as agriculture and tourism – can benefit from the productivity improvements that better connectivity offers.  

Dr David Bromell said, “There has been strong demand for fast broadband in rural Canterbury. It’s critical infrastructure for both economic and social development in our region.” 

Modern farm management relies on access to technology. This is especially important for precision irrigation, enabling significant gains in efficient use of a precious resource. The trend is towards data-based, precision agriculture 

The Internet of Things and Machine-to-Machine communication are creating opportunities on farm to improve productivity while minimising environmental impact. But whether it’s GPS positioning on combine harvesters, soil moisture sensors, robotic calf feeders, automatic opening and closing of gates, or pivot irrigators, it all needs fast broadband.” 

Willy Leferink, owner of Legro Farms Ltd in mid-Canterbury said, “Spark’s 4G roll out gave us fast broadband and that meant we could hook onto precision irrigation. I spend about two hours a day on the internet, and we’re getting plenty of speed and no hiccups.” 

But it’s about people as well as production. Safety on farms is really important, and having cell phone coverage is critical for a timely response when accidents happen. Digital connectivity is also important for attracting and retaining newcomers and their families to the agricultural workforce.  

“We have a significant number of migrant farm workers in our communities. Put yourself in their shoesYou want to keep in contact with people at home, you want to be able to Skype and to have access to Facebook. We need fast broadband to do this, said Dr Bromell. 

For Canterbury’s growing tourism industry, fast broadband is essential. Dr Bromell explained, “This isn’t just about safety. It’s to enhance the visitor experience and help them do our marketing for us. Websites and apps can guide visitors, especially those who don’t speak English as a first language, to points of interest. And the photos they upload over wifi to social media like WeChat and Instagram market our country and region for us.” 

The Mayoral Forum is now focusing on GIS-mapping remaining coverage gaps, assessing these for economic and social significance, and working with government and service providers to identify solutions to achieve its goal of a fully connected Canterbury. Data from the 2018 Census will add to that picture. 

The Canterbury Mayoral Forum leads development and implementation of the Canterbury Regional Economic Development Strategy (CREDS).

E whakamahia ana ngā raraunga tatauranga ki te whakamōhio i tētahi kōkiri ki te whakapai ake i ngā āhuatanga noho kore haumaru o ngā whare i Maketū, tētahi tāone matāwhanga ki te hauāuru o Te Moana-a-Toi. Nā ngā panoni nei kua puta mai te maha o ngā painga matawhawhati, whai hua anō hoki ki ngā tamariki me ngā whānau.

Ko te whāinga o te Kaupapa Whare Hauora ko te whakapai ake i ngā āhuatanga noho o ngā whare i Maketū me ērā atu wāhi o te takiwā. Ko te whāinga ko te whakapai ake i te hauora, haumaru me te oranga o te hapori.

I tīmata tēnei kōkiri i te wā i whakamohoatia ai te pūnaha wai parapara e te Kaunihera o te rohe mai i ngā Kurī-a-Whārei ki Ōtamarākau ki te Uru i te tau 2012. Hei wāhanga o tēnei mahi, he mea tautohu 14 ngā whare hei whare whai āhuatanga noho pakatiti pea.

Ko te nuinga o ngā kainoho i pāngia ki ngā māuiui pērā i te huangō, te maremare me te mātaratara, te pona kakā me te mate romahā.

Nā te nui o te āwangawanga i whakahaere te Kaunihera o te rohe mai i ngā Kurī-a-Whārei ki Ōtamarākau ki te Uru i tētahi hui i te taha o ētahi rōpū ki te matapaki i ngā mahi ka mahia pea ki te whakapai ake i ngā āhuatanga noho o ngā whare.

I whakamahia ngā raraunga tatauranga ki te tautohu i ngā hiahia o te hapori. I whai wāhi ki tēnei te āta titiro ki ngā raraunga pērā i te tapeke o ngā whiwhinga moni whaiaro, nā wai te mana o ngā whare, te whiwhi mahi me ngā taumata mātauranga.

I whakatūria te Kaupapa Whare Hauora, ka whakawhanakehia tētahi mahere mō te whakarato kāinga hauora.

Nui ake i te 80 ngā whānau kua whai wāhi ki ngā kōkiri pēnei i te whakarato pareārai, te whakatika i ngā paipa wai, ngā kōrere tuanui, ngā take kāmura me ngā take hiko.

Hei tā Jodie Rickard te Kaitātari Kaupapahere Matua o te Kaunihera o te rohe mai i ngā Kurī-a-Whārei ki Ōtamarākau ki te Uru, “He nui whakahara te awenga o ngā raraunga tatauranga ki te kaupapa mohoa noa nei.”

“Hikaka ana te ngakau mō ngā raraunga o te tau 2018 e heke mai nei tērā ka homai i te māramatanga mō te haukū o ngā whare, te kāhekaheka o ngā whare me te āhei ki ngā taonga whakaahuru waiwai. Ko te nui ake o ā mātou pārongo mō te tautohu i ngā tāngata whakaraerae i ō mātou hapori, te nui ake o tā mātou āwhina i a rātou.”

I āhei ngā kainoho te haere ki ētahi awheawhe DIY e pā ana ki te whakamahana ake, ki te whakamaroke ake i ō rātou whare, me ngā awheawhe hoki e pā ana ki te penapena pūngao.

Hei tā a Maria Horne, te kaituitui o Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whakaue ki Maketū, “I piki te ora o ngā whānau i muri i ngā mahi whakapaipai i ngā whare. Kua iti ake ngā taumata ahotea o ngā whānau, me te aha ka koa ake. I tua atu, ka māia ake ngā tamariki, ka nui ake ngā menemene, ā, me te tokomaha ake o rātou e haere ana ki kura.”

Ka nui ake te whakahihiri o ngā whānau ki te whakapai ake i ō rātou kāinga nā te hanga taiepa, peita i ō rātou whare, me te whakatō i ngā māra.

“Ko tētahi āwangawanga ko te noho apiapi i ngā whare; nā te utu rēti, he nui ake ngā rangatahi e hoki ana ki te kāinga, noho tūturu ai. Nā te nui o te utu mō ngā whare, ka noho tahi ngā reanga katoa o ngā whānau tangata whenua. “

I whakatūria te Kaupapa Whare Hauora ki te taha o ngā rōpū pērā i Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whakaue ki Maketū, Te Puni Kokiri, Sustainability Options, Tauranga Community Housing Trust, Habitat for Humanity, Toi Te Ora- Public Health services, Bay Trust, TECT me te Hauora a Toi.