New guide: Census 2018 Data in the IDI

The 2018 Census dataset is quite different to previous census datasets and that can be difficult to navigate. This guide covers these differences and other important points.


COMPASS 2021 Colloquium
Thursday 5 August 2021, Wellington

This annual event held at Statistics New Zealand showcases some of the many research projects currently in progress at COMPASS Research Centre, the University of Auckland. More details as we put the programme together.


Innovations in Applied Data Symposium, Nau te Rourou, Naku te Rourou
Thursday 3 June 2021, Wellington
We warmly invite you to the Innovations in Applied Data Symposium on Thursday 3 June 2021 at Te Papa in Wellington and online. This is an opportunity to share the cool stuff being done with data in Aotearoa New Zealand.

We’ll soon circulate an open invitation to submit abstracts for quickfire presentations of 5 minutes, grouped by themes and data types. There will also be keynote speakers and a plenary session to summarise the key issues raised during the day.

The symposium is open to anybody working in the collection, management, analysis or access to applied data, from government, non-government and academic environments.

The event will be free to attend and catering will be provided, but registration will be required. Registration and abstract submission details will follow, for more information please see


Auckland Data Science + Analytics Forum Event
Tuesday 1 June 2021, Auckland
This takes place at Auckland University of Technology, Room WG403, and runs 2:30–6:00pm. It will also be offered online via Zoom. You will need a free booking to attend in person, here via Eventbrite. Please see further details below.

Dataset Assembly Tool
The Social Wellbeing Agency (SWA) has developed a tool to simplify combining data from a wide range of sources. See here for more information.


COMPASS 2020 Colloquium
COMPASS is a social science research team undertaking quantitative research with policy relevance. Its annual research colloquium at Statistics New Zealand in Wellington took place on Thursday 6 August. See full information and download slides and videos here.

Evidence Matters: Diversion Programmes for Low-Level Drug Offenders: Health Outcomes and Cost-Effectiveness
Professor Margaret Brandeau from Stanford University gave this seminar in Wellington, 5 December 2019, at the Ministry of Social Development.

New IDI guide: Mental health and addiction information in the IDI

This guide provides an overview of the range of mental health and addiction data in the IDI. Key sources of mental health and addiction information are described along with some of the strengths and limitations of these data sets.

This guide is a condensed version of ‘Guide to Mental Health and Addiction Data in IDI’, also now available here.

Pharmacoepidemiology Research Network Symposium 

This was held at the University of Otago, Dunedin, 20 November 2019, for researchers, clinicians, and others with an interest in the utilisation and safety of medicines, medical devices, and vaccines, and those with an interest in epidemiological methods.

New IDI guide: Before School Check data in the IDI

The Before School Check (B4SC) is a national programme that monitors the health and development of four-year-old children. This post describes the B4SC data set and its usefulness as an analytic data set in the IDI.

New IDI guide: ACC claims

Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) claims are the most complete and comprehensive source of national statistics on injuries. This guide aims to improve understanding about the benefits and challenges of using ACC claims data in the IDI.


Older news

Māori Oral Health Equity Symposium

Registrations are open for the Māori Oral Health Equity Symposium 3 &4 October 2019 in Wellington.

You will have the opportunity to hear from equity experts and sector leaders, and participate in workshops to shape the future of Māori oral health.  This Symposium will generate solutions to bring about the transformative change needed to achieve:

  • An equitable oral health system
  • Oral health services that are responsive to Māori
  • A culturally competent and representative workforce
  • Greater oral health sector accountability
  • Greater sector and whānau participation

View the Programme and Register now at:

2018 Census technical seminar

Stats NZ has released a recording of the Census Technical Seminar on their website. The seminar describes how the 2018 Census file was created following lower than expected coverage from the census. This includes using the Integrated Data Infrastructure to insert missing records and variables. If you didn’t attend the live seminars and are planning to use 2018 Census data it is worth watching. Watch the seminar.

VHIN related research: Data Resource Profile: The New Zealand Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI).

An article about New Zealand’s Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI), written by some VHIN members, has recently been published in the International Journal of Epidemiology. It outlines the data included in the IDI, and ways it can be used for research. Read the full article.

COMPASS 2019 Colloquium

COMPASS are a social science research team undertaking quantitative research with policy relevance. COMPASS holds an annual research colloquium at Statistics New Zealand in Wellington to showcase their research to the government, academic, and broader research community. This years Colloquium is on Wednesday 7 August, in Wellington, and they will present updates from a number of their current projects. Follow this link for more details and to register. Attendees are capped at 60, so please get in quick if you would like to attend.

Population Association of New Zealand (PANZ) conference, Wellington

The Population Association of New Zealand (PANZ) conference  will be held in Wellington on 20 and 21 June 2019. The theme is ‘Population change in Aotearoa New Zealand: people, places and well-being’ and a there is a great line-up of keynote speakers. Abstract submission has been extended until 15 March so you still have a few days to submit an abstract if you are interested. See the following link for more details. 

STATS NZ Population Explorer user guide

The Population Explorer is being developed by Stats NZ as part of the Integrated Data Infrastructure 2 project. They have produced this user guide for their Population Explorer tables that are available within the IDI. Click here to view.


11 February – 1 March, University of Otago, Wellington

The Public Health Summer School offers practical 1–4 day courses to anyone who wants to develop their knowledge and skills. There are 30 courses to choose from including 16 new courses.  Courses vary from small group computer lab classes to interactive workshops and multi-speaker symposiums. Click here for more information on the courses on offer and to register.

Using big data to tackle inequalities in society

COMPASS Research Centre hosted this day of presentations on the uses of big data, both locally in the IDI, and internationally, with three visiting speakers. All presentation slides and accompanying audio are now available for download.

What is the future of social science data?

COMPASS Research Centre, the Public Policy Institute, and the Department of Statistics of the University of Auckland, along with the New Zealand Association of Economists, hosted Professor Julia Lane of New York University, and this was a public lecture she gave on 20 June 2018. The lecture and a radio interview from the same day are now available for download.

Upcoming IDI courses

VHIN Introduction to health research in the IDI
VHIN He kuhunga ki te rangahau hauora i roto i te IDI
Are you considering using the IDI but aren’t sure where to begin?
Are you interested in learning more about how the IDI can be used for health research?

Registration is now open for the following IDI courses:

See more details about our courses.

New Data Ethics course offered in 2019 Public Health Summer School:

Ethics of public and patient involvement in research: Governance, democracy and social justice

Friday 15 February 2019, University of Otago, Wellington

This course is being run as part of the University of Otago, Public Health Summer School 2019. It builds on the popular Introduction to Data Ethics held as part of the 2018 PHSS.

It provides a critical overview of current debates and ethical challenges regarding patient and public involvement in research (PPI), specifically in relation to biobanks and the sharing, linking and/or re-use of health-related information and data (both quantitative and qualitative).

Click here for more information and to register.


Are you interested in the safety and utilisation of medicines and medical devices?  If so, you might like to attend a one-day symposium which is being hosted by the Pharmacoepidemiology Research Network, and sponsored by PHARMAC and Medsafe. The symposium is being held in Dunedin on 21 November, register here.

Māori & European differences in mortality and socioeconomic position and smoking – Professor Tony Blakely, University of Otago

Here’s a great talk from Professor Tony Blakely, University of Otago. In the first half Tony describes his research on Māori & European differences in mortality. In the second half (26:10 onwards) Tony discusses whether New Zealand’s analytical capacity and computing facilities are adequate to capitalise on the rich data opportunities we have.

VHIN related research: Constructing whole of population cohorts using the IDI

An article about constructing population cohorts in the IDI, written by some VHIN members, has recently been published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health. Read the full article.

University of Otago, Wellington – Assistant Research Fellow Data Management role

The University of Otago Wellington is recruiting for an Assistant Research Fellow to work on Public Health IDI projects at University of Otago Wellington. This is a great opportunity for someone with R, SAS or Stata experience to learn about IDI and public health research. Please forward the link to anyone you know who might be interested.

Request for Proposals for 2018 Precision Driven Health – HRC Postdoctoral Fellowship Partnership

Do you know a recent PhD graduate who is interested in Big Data and health? Precision Driven Health and HRC formed a joint funding initiative to take applications for post-doctoral fellowships, but applications closed 26 June 2018.

Public Health Expert Blog

This blog describes the opportunities and challenges of the new data environment in New Zealand, focusing on how the VHIN can contribute to stronger health research and improve the health of New Zealanders. See the initial post on the VHIN’s contribution

VHIN Intro to Health Research in the IDI Short Courses Success

We offered one-day short courses on conducting health research in the IDI in both the Public Health Summer School at the University of Otago, Wellington, and the February Programme of the NZ Social Statistics Network at the University of Auckland. Thanks to everyone who participated – we had around 40 attendees in Wellington and 14 in Auckland. Feedback was very positive.

Big Data for Big Problems

The VHIN was profiled as part of the University of Otago Research Highlights He Kitenga series, from its inception through the various affiliated organisations and projects.

Understanding Practice and Analysis of Integrated Data in the Stats NZ Datalab

This report, by Peter Ellis, scopes the needs and opportunities for information and analytical layers in the IDI, whilst also outlining the current approaches to analysis in the IDI and observations on the analytical environment.

Integrated Data Infrastructure Symposium

This was on 16 August 2017 at the University of Auckland’s School of Population Health, supported by the Australasian Epidemiological Association (AEA). It showcased a range of projects using the IDI to answer epidemiological questions on topics including cardiovascular disease, premature birth, and injuries. Presentations focused on the advantages and challenges of using the IDI, data sources used, and outcomes explored.

Virtual Diabetes Register December 2016 released and published

The Virtual Diabetes Register for December 2016 was released and published in May 2017, after improvements to the algorithm were made earlier that year. Please use these numbers until we notify you of further updates, or request an up to date data set from

COMPASS Research Centre Annual Colloquium

This was last held on 10 August 2017 at Grant Thornton House in Wellington. Another will be held around the same time in 2018 watch this space, and in the meantime, please feel free to tell your colleagues about the event. Attendance is always free, but spaces are limited.

Earthquakes, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes

This presentation was given on 21 April 2017 at the University of Otago, Wellington, and drew on learnings from the Healthier Lives National Science Challenge’s research in the IDI. It discussed the impact of Canterbury earthquake damage on heart disease, and updated an earlier study on cancer prevalence, the productivity costs of heart disease, and protective factors against the progression of prediabetes to diabetes.

Statistics New Zealand IDI Forum

This was held on 26 April 2017 at the University of Otago, Wellington, based on the theme of collaborative research and creating an IDI researcher culture. The VHIN was high on the agenda, as was the Social Investment Unit, which has since been replaced by the Social Investment Agency.