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Injury to Maori
  1. John Langley
  1. Injury Prevention Research Unit, Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, University of Otago, PO Box 913, Dunedin, New Zealand (tel: +64 3 478 8342, fax: +64 3 479 8337, e-mail: iprunz{at}

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    As was noted in a previous regional report there has been considerable interest in establishing the incidence and pattern of indigenous groups in both Australia and New Zealand. The Injury Research Unit and Ngai Tahu Maori Health Research Unit have published such a resource document for Maori injury.

    That injury is a leading cause of mortality and morbidity among Maori has long been known. The report provides detailed graphs and tables for mortality and morbidity by age and by cause.

    The rates for Maori are higher than those for New Zealand as a whole. In the period 1985–94, injury deaths among those under 1 totalled 73.9 per 100 000 among Maori, more than double the figure for New Zealand as a whole (33.2). The difference in death rate is not as marked for older children and for those aged 1–14 years the figures are 17.5 and 16.6 respectively.

    Injury represents 5% of deaths for Maori children under 1 year of age, 59% for those aged 1–4 years, and 56% for those aged 5–14 years. Assault represents 12% of injury deaths for children under 1 year; this is about the same percentage as assault (5%) and self inflicted (6%) categories combined among those aged 5–14 years. Injury hospitalisation represents 7% for children under 5 years and 26% for those aged 5–14 years. Assault represents 11% of injury hospitalisation (1% undetermined) for Maori children under 1 and, for Maori children 1–14 years, assault is 3% and self inflicted 1%.

    As causes of injury death among Maori children aged 1–14 years, motor vehicle traffic (47%), pedestrian, other (6%), fire/burn (15%), drowning (16%), suffocation (11%), and falls (5%) are the leading causes. As causes of injury hospitalisation among the same group the causes are: fall (41%), fire/burn (8%), hot object/substance (6%), struck by/against (9%), cut/pierce (8%), motor vehicle traffic (13%), poisoning (8%), and other specified causes (7%).

    Sources: (1) Injury hospitalisation among indigenous Australians (regional report).

    . (2) Langley J, Broughton J, Nga Tatauranga: injury to Maori. Dunedin: Injury Prevention Research Unit, University of Otago, June 1998 (OR21). (3) Langley JD, Smeijers J. Injury mortality among children and teenagers in New Zealand compared with the United States of America.