Identity and Personal Information Is Taonga

An interview with Andrew Weaver, Executive Producer of Digital Identity NZ


It’s time to recognise that Identity and Personal information is Taonga.


Two thirds of New Zealanders are now more likely to go online rather than face to face, yet 91% desire a greater level of control over their identity and personal information. Digital Identity NZ’s 2020 research survey has found that there is a growing awareness of the way in which our personal information is harvested and used by organisations and technology providers, coupled with a high degree of anger and disappointment about the widespread sale and sharing of that information.


Privacy Responsibility


The 2020 Trust and Identity research was conducted by Yabble and commissioned by Digital Identity NZ, in partnership with InternetNZ and the Digital Council of Aotearoa, with support from Middleware NZ, ASB, Department of Internal Affairs, Payments NZ, PowerFinance, Tradewindow, and 2Shakes.


People in Aotearoa/New Zealand are taking a stronger stance on businesses being responsible for protecting personal data and using it responsibly, in addition to taking personal ownership themselves. 34% of respondents believe that businesses must take greater responsibility, up from 29% in 2019.


There is begrudging acceptance of the collection of our personal data online, “It’s like there is no point to change too much – it is what it is – when I go online I am automatically giving something away – I don’t like it...but it happens.”


Andrew Weaver states that, “as organisations we have done an excellent job in raising awareness of some of the risks and challenges associated with our highly connected world, yet we are placing too heavy a burden on people to protect themselves without adjusting our systems and processes to make it easier for them to understand and take action.”

Digital Identity NZ

He goes on to say, “identity is taonga, it is a treasure worthy of dignity, respect and care." This places a great deal of responsibility on organisations as kaitiaki/custodians of identity and personal information, and as this research shows our call to action is to ‘do better’ when it comes to how that information is cared for." One participant said, ‘I don’t know where to start when it comes to protecting myself...it is just too hard.’


"We must increase transparency, provide meaningful privacy controls and simple, straightforward policies and technology that make it easier for people to take meaningful action.”


Framework and Principles


These principles become all the more significant given the Government’s recent announcement on the establishment of a Digital Identity Trust Framework for Aotearoa/New Zealand. The Trust Framework ‘will support the development of security,

privacy-enhancing and interoperable approaches to digital identity services, to maximise benefits for citizens, the economy, and society.’


This is particularly important to those subject to AML/CFT legislation, as the Trust Framework will seek to address some of the challenges associated with identification and assurance for Reporting Entities.


The management of identity and personal information is increasingly reliant on a trustworthy ecosystem of participants, adhering not only to technical and security standards, but also embracing principles of Kāwanatanga (Honorable Governance), Rangatiratanga (Self Determination & Agency), Ōritetanga (Equity & Partnership) and freedom of choice and expression.


Andrew Weaver from Digital Identity NZ

Digital Identity NZ is a purpose driven, inclusive, membership funded organisation, whose members have a shared passion for the opportunities that digital identity can offer. We welcome organisations and individuals to join us to help contribute to a uniquely Aotearoa/New Zealand digital identity ecosystem.


You can find more information here or contact Andrew Weaver.



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