Empowering Indigenous Data Sovereignty: The TTP-Microsoft Partnership


The recent partnership between Te Tumu Paeroa (TTP), the office of the Māori Trustee, and Microsoft for the forthcoming data centres in Aotearoa New Zealand marks a groundbreaking development with potential global implications for indigenous data sovereignty. This agreement, described as “groundbreaking,” is based on TTP’s Māori data sovereignty framework, which has been under development for the past three years. 

As anchor tenants for Microsoft’s data centres, TTP will play a pivotal role in safeguarding Māori data as a precious asset in an increasingly digital world. Ruth Russell, Te Tumu Paeroa’s Kaitautari Pārongo Matua (Chief Information Officer), emphasized the significance of protecting Māori data, describing it as a “taonga” or treasure. Anchor tenancy enables TTP to host data in Aotearoa, ensuring it remains within the country’s sovereign borders. 
The agreement aims to deepen connections between landowners and their whenua (land) and facilitate faster recovery from major weather events while supporting innovation on key issues such as climate change. TTP’s services include trust administration, property management, income distribution, and client fund management, making this partnership crucial for enhancing Māori data sovereignty.

One of the primary benefits of the new cloud service is that data stored at the centre will not leave New Zealand’s sovereign borders, ensuring compliance with local laws and regulations. 

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