237.130 Independent Study Week #6

Session 6: Taking care of knowledge


Read the excerpt from the writing by Rev. Māori Marsden. Rev. Marsden writes about the importance of knowledge being held in the appropriate and correct place. Knowledge comes in various forms and is held and regarded in different ways. Marsden highlights the basic tenet that some knowledge should not be widely shared.

Task: Connect this principle with an example that you currently see in the media or identify in your community. Begin by explaining principles from Rev. Marsden’s text. Then introduce your chosen example, briefly explain what it is, and finally connect this with Marsden’s ideas. 250-300 words max. Document this in your journal.


I picked up a couple of basic principles from Marsden’s writing.

Firstly, that to Māori, myth and legend carry an equivalent weight to Western science.

Myth and legend in the Maori cultural context are neither fables embodying primitive faith in the supernatural, nor marvellous fireside stories of ancient times.

Rev. Maori Marsden. KAITIAKITANGA – A Definitive Introduction to the Holistic World View of the Maori. November 1992

Second, that there is some knowledge that should not be shared.

It was basic tenet of Maoridom that the inner corpus of sacred knowledge was not to be shared with the ‘Tutuaa’ – the common herd, lest such knowledge be abused and misused.

Rev. Maori Marsden. KAITIAKITANGA – A Definitive Introduction to the Holistic World View of the Maori. November 1992

As to an example where this is a significant concern, I can think of an example from my professional life, and consider “Cloud services”, where data is stored in such a way that the geographical location of the data becomes generally irrelevant from an ICT perspective. To use an example of the relevance, we can consider data with cultural significance to Māori.

As a specific example, a photograph or video of a culturally significant site such as a pa may well hold special significance to a Māori group, potentially in the same way as the pa itself. The group may feel that this culturally significant data may need to be kept inside New Zealand, or even in a specific geographical area.

I can now express the potential effects of this as a risk, and will write it in a deliberately provocative way to make a point. I don’t think this will actually eventuate.

Risk: if indigenous data sovereignty concerns force data to be stored in New Zealand and not in the Public Enterprise Cloud, then ICT services built for New Zealand will be at odds with global industry direction, resulting in New Zealand being at a technological and financial disadvantage compared to other nations.

What I think could happen is that services will be design that are a hybrid, with data stores in systems being split between cheap Cloud services and more expensive onshore services.

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