Wiki NZ promises a new way of understanding NZ in the world

by Toby Manhire / 10 December, 2012
A fresh collaborative data site could become an important tool for research and discovery.

Arbitrary crop of a population infographic.

This looks interesting.

Something called Wiki New Zealand has quietly launched, describing itself as “A collaborative website making data about New Zealand accessible for everyone.”

A repository of revealing and graphically illustrated (as in there are graphs, rather than graphic anything else), Wiki New Zealand draws principally on information from Statistics NZ and the OECD.

The brainchild of Lillian Grace, formerly (or still?) of the the New Zealand Institute, it looks like it could become an essential research tool.

Here’s the mission statement:

There is a vast amount of data freely available on New Zealand and its position within the global context. However, to extract this data into a useable form requires time and skill. This reality means much of the accessible data we currently view is produced alongside an argument to persuade us of a particular opinion – to convince us of what is “good”. This is not Wiki New Zealand.

Building knowledge enables informed decisions, which leads to better outcomes. Data alone does not build knowledge, but it is a crucial component. Wiki New Zealand brings data together in one place and in accessible formats. Topics are presented from multiple angles, wider contexts and over time. Presenting this data in similar forms invites users to compare, contrast and interpret it easily and without bias.

Wiki New Zealand won’t tell you what to think. Its job is to present data on a wide range of subjects relevant to New Zealanders. Your job is to draw your own conclusions, develop your own opinions and make your decisions.

While some of the background copy could use a good editor – the exuberant biographical notes are off-puttingly purplish - the site overall is an ambitious, impressive and very welcome initiative.
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