The indigenous populations of New Zealand (Maoris) and the United States (American Indians/Alaska Natives) have much in common: both have worse health outcomes than their white counterparts, and both have been the focus of national strategies to reduce their disease burdens and improve their access to quality health care.
This Commonwealth Fund–supported study compared the health status of Maoris with that of American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) populations. For nearly every health indicator assessed, disparities between the indigenous and white populations were more pronounced among Maoris than among AIs/ANs. For example:
The study's finding that Maoris face greater disparities across most of the indicators of health status than American Indians/Alaska Natives suggests that ethnic health disparities are not intractable. In the future, New Zealand should evaluate the effectiveness of new strategies to address Maori needs and reduce health disparities.