This paper explores the interface between mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) and a model used to describe knowledge systems known as the Data- Information- Knowledge- Wisdom (DIKW) hierarchy. By considering how DIKW describes a non- Western knowledge system, we reveal ways that the DIKW pyramid concept may be expanded. We fi rst explore the practices that mātauranga Māori draws upon to establish relationships between data, information and knowledge, considering particularly how the concept of whakapapa interfaces with the DIKW pyramid model. Using the theory- ladenness of observation concept, we recast the DIKW pyra- mid as a prism, or an observational lens with unique refractive properties that depend on the worldview and lead to different ways of seeing. We fi nally consider how the DIKW pyramid (or prism) can be reoriented to describe the knowledge- information- data exchange that occurs in the oral transmission of mātauranga Māori. Through this conversation, we demonstrate that this area of knowledge can be shaped by mātauranga Māori, but that mātauranga Māori ultimately transcends any descriptive work that the DIKW pyramid can do upon it.