Donor Aid

The NZIPR is building a dynamic model of donor contributions in the Pacific, with easily accessible analysis of their impact.

Attached to this will be further analyses of geopolitical trends in donor activity, and the establishment of a baseline for later analyses and updates of this database.

This project, complete by 2017, will also explore implications for New Zealand donor contributions and their significance for recipient countries.

Pacific Aid Visualisation

The visualisation tool maps donor contributions to the Pacific region using data on ‘disbursement’ and ‘expenditure’ – current spending typically used to represent aid flows – sourced from the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI). Transactions – converted to current NZ dollars (as at the last quarter; in this case 31 March 2017) – can be broken down by recipient country, sector (DAC) and/or donor nation/organisation. The alphabetical list of recipient Pacific countries includes: American Samoa; Cook Islands; Fiji; French Polynesia; Guam; Kiribati; Marshall Islands; Micronesia, Federated States of; Nauru; New Caledonia; Niue; Northern Mariana Islands; Palau; Papua New Guinea; Pitcairn Islands; Samoa; Solomon Islands; Tokelau; Tonga; Tuvalu; Vanuatu; and Wallis and Futuna.

We have used the IATI data as the core because it has the advantages, in principle, of: being a single coherent entity; being quality-assured; being in a standard format; documented; date-stamped; current; and ongoing and well-accepted by the development community as the way of the future. There are now over 500 reporting organisations and the number is growing. In practice, the IATI repository still has a way to go in terms of coverage and data quality. Though we believe that IATI is the best source for our purposes, there are significant gaps in the data where aid projects are not reported in a timely fashion nor even registered. Further, the available IATI set is in a close to raw state, with ‘dirty’ or missing data, leading to difficulties in manipulation and interpretation, and the need to undertake time-consuming ‘cleaning’ or processing before use or visualisation. These issues are not restricted to our case but are well-known among analysts working in this area.

The next steps in the project include:

  1. Enhancing the visualisation tool both functionally and aesthetically
  2. Periodically updating the IATI data set (including data download, cleaning, and other processing for visualisation), quarterly
  3. Supplementation of IATI data with data from other sources being careful to ensure compatibility and avoid overlap.
  4. Adding background data related to population and society, and a standard set of development indicators, for each Pacific country – to be updated annually.  

The mapping tool is still under development and we welcome any feedback you have. Please send suggestions to

Donor aid mapping tool

Project Leader

Associate Professor Toeolesulusulu Damon Salesa.

Toeolesulusulu Damon Salesa is head of Pacific Studies, and Co-Head of Te Wananga o Waipapa (the School of Māori Studies and Pacific Studies) at the University of Auckland.

He also serves as the University’s Director of Pacific Strategy and Engagement. He is a prizewinning scholar who is the author and editor of a number of works on the Pacific, government and politics.

He is currently working on a project tracing 200 years of environmental, economic and social change in Samoa, for which he was awarded a Marsden Award from the Royal Society of New Zealand. After receiving his MA at the University of Auckland, he completed a DPhil at Oxford University.