Disability data and evidence resources

There are over a million disabled people in New Zealand. There is a continued need to improve both disability data and disability evidence collection and use.

This is needed to inform Government decision making and programmes, support the Crown in its relationships with Māori under Te Tiriti O Waitangi (the Treaty of Waitangi) principles and improve outcomes for disabled people, as is part of the Disability Action Plan.

Article 31 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities talks about countries obligations to collect, disaggregate and disseminate disability data. You can click here to read the full article .

The Disability Data and Evidence Working Group (DDEWG) comprises government officials, representatives from Disabled peoples’ Organisations and groups interested in disability research. The Group has a governance function overseeing the delivery of a work programme. The quarterly meetings are jointly chaired by the Office for Disability Issues and Statistics NZ. The work programme is managed by MSD as part of its support of the Disability Action Plan. The work programme includes workstreams on engagement, communication and resources; the IDI and Access to government; the outcomes framework of the NZ Disability Strategy and research.

The Disability Data and Evidence Working Group has a major focus on the types of data required to ensure the development of sound policy and appropriate services to meet the needs of disabled people in New Zealand and, thereby, improve their everyday lives.

This site contains a selection of resources regarding disability data and evidence in New Zealand. There are a number of different sources for capturing disability data and evidence, including capturing Mātauranga Māori (knowledge indigenous to New Zealand). The information contained on this website is just a selection of what is available.

It is not an exhaustive list, but a selection of examples to show you how disability data and evidence can be collected and used. The number of resources available continues to evolve, therefore this page will be updated periodically to reflect this.

It is split into three sections: administrative data, survey data and research and evidence. Each section includes examples of publications and guidance on how to use data as well. Resources in this website include those focused on disability, and mainstream resources that also include disability as it is important to consider disability data in both spaces.

The Washington Group Question set is considered good practice when collecting data on disability. You can find links to it in the below section but can also click here to learn more about this important tool .

Administrative data

Administrative data refers to data collected by organisations for the purpose of running and monitoring programmes or services. This section gives you guidance on how to collect disability data in an appropriate and effective way, and provides examples and guidance on how to assess the quality of administrative data. 

Survey data

Surveys are a common source of disability data. Survey data are collected directly from a sample of respondents, which is often representative of the whole country. There are a number of surveys in New Zealand that collect disability data. Many of these use the Washington Short Set of questions which allow outcomes to be compared for disabled and non-disabled people. The New Zealand Disability Survey uses a much longer set of questions and can be used to estimate disability prevalence in New Zealand.

Research and evidence

Disability research involves creative and systematic activity to increase disability-knowledge. It is regularly carried out by researchers in academia, disabled people, disability and community organisations and government agencies.

Evidence gathered through high quality disability research is often translated into meaningful insights to inform and transform policy and practice. This section includes evaluations of research that has been undertaken.

This section provides examples and guidance for for those seeking to do research.

If you are new to the disability sector, we recommend looking at the following resources before proceeding. 

This website has been put together by the Disability Data and Evidence Working Group.


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