Incentives for Change

Progress of the Kuaha Matihiko Digital Gateway Project

An update from the team, one year into the 18-month project, including the significant contribution of Pūhoro STEMM Academy interns Helena Mercer and Mosiah Igatia, and a range of end-user groups.

Mosiah Igatia, summer intern from the Pūhoro STEMM Academy, with Matt Henry of Massey University

The Kuaha Matihiko Digital Gateway project is progressing along its journey to build a comprehensive online platform that provides access to a wide range of land and water datasets. The goal of this platform is to make it easy to find and analyse land and water information, with powerful search capabilities and data visualisation tools. The first step in the process, funded by Our Land and Water, is to complete the development of a minimum viable product (MVP).

If you haven't yet contributed your input to this project, it's not too late to participate in the online survey. Your feedback will help ensure the platform meets common land and water data requirements.

Below is an update from the team, one year into the 18-month project.

Data stocktake from Pūhoro STEMM Academy interns

Over summer, the team hosted Pūhoro STEMM Academy interns Helena Mercer and Mosiah Igatia, who put in some hard yards collecting online information about current land and water data products and services. They assessed the accessibility, usability and available formats of these data and toolsets across various organisations, including NGOs, CRIs, universities, councils, and more. They also conducted a basic international search for data providers such as satellite providers, ESA, and NASA.

Thanks to their efforts, the project created a comprehensive stakeholder directory of 105 different entities.

Another interesting finding was the existence of geographic gaps in data coverage, also confirmed in wānanga and hui with a range of stakeholders. These findings are being compiled and will be explored in a publication due for public release later in the year.

Understanding and navigating land and water legislation is also vital for sustainable resource management. The research team conducted a review of current and future land and water regulations, including international trends, being mindful of the implications of international agreements on environmental claims made by New Zealand organisations.

End-user perspectives

Helena and Mosiah also conducted a usability assessment of each provider’s portal or website, with a particular focus on the good and bad aspects of each site from the perspective of an end-user with little experience accessing land and water data. This generated rich insight into an end user’s perspective on the usability of existing land and water data sources and websites.

The project team is also actively engaging with several case study groups to co-design the Digital Gateway. These groups represent a diverse range of end-users and stakeholders, ensuring insights come from different perspectives. Partners include Mana Tahuna Charitable Trust, Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa, and Te Whanau-a-Apanui Iwi, who are committed to positive social, cultural, and environmental development in their communities.

Platform now in development

Based on the data stocktake and usability review findings, the project team created 50+ wireframes as initial options for the design of the Kuaha Matahiko user interface.

These wireframes were then passed over to the project's tech team for development, and the prototype minimum viable product (MVP) website is well underway.

The initial MVP is focussing on:

  • ‘Findable' and ‘Accessible' aspects of FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) principles for data management and stewardship; and
  • CARE (Collective benefit, Authority to control, Responsibility, Ethics) principles for indigenous data governance.

The team is taking a user-centric approach to co-design, review, and test the accessibility of the gateway. Hui and wānanga sessions provide opportunities for case study stakeholders and end-users to provide critical feedback on various aspects of the platform, driving an iterative process towards a comprehensive MVP set to launch by the end of this year.

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More information:

  • To take the survey please click here. Please forward the survey to others if their roles or interests align with the project. The project team really appreciates your time in completing the survey.
  • If you have any questions, please comment below or contact the team.
  • Further details and progress updates on the project will be on the project website,


Annabel McAleer

Communications Manager, Our Land and Water. Text in this article is licensed for re-use under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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