Hawke's Bay Maori are more than two and a half times more likely than non-Maori to die of treatable illnesses, according to a comprehensive new report.

The Hawke's Bay District Health Board Maori Health Profile 2015 is among 20 profiles commissioned by the Ministry of Health for health boards across the nation.

Lead researcher Bridget Robson said the profiles were a reminder of the "stark inequalities in health".

"They provide a useful base for identifying key issues and planning actions to improve Maori health," Ms Robson said.


Amenable mortality, or deaths potentially avoidable through health care, was 2.7 times as high for Hawke's Bay Maori as for non-Maori, or 115 more deaths per 100,000, according to the Hawke's Bay profile.

MP for Ikaroa-Rawhiti Meka Whaitiri said she was not surprised by that figure and many Maori in Hawke's Bay would not be surprised.

She said while many people were trying to address the issue it seemed that whatever had been thrown at it was not working.

"This is the tension I have between mainstream approach to health provision and when is the system going to allow for alternative approaches," she said.

The MP said their health issues were very whanau-centric

"So you might have one person in the house who is very sick but it [household] has a history.

"Therefore treating the individual doesn't actually address the issue, you have got to treat the wider family.

"And the system isn't set up to deal with the dad, the grandchildren ... we have got a very individualistic approach to healthcare."

Ms Whaitiri said while there were good people trying to address the problems, "we have got a system that is not geared towards addressing the real needs of Maori whanau".

The report showed avoidable hospitalisation rate was 53 per cent higher for Maori than for non-Maori. That equates to an average of 2353 potentially avoidable Maori hospital admissions per year.

Between 2008 and 2012, the rate of death from all causes for Maori was twice the non-Maori rate.

Maori females have a life expectancy of 75.9 years, 7.7 years lower than non-Maori females. Maori males have a life expectancy of 71.7 years, 8.2 years lower than for non-Maori males.

Maori females were most likely to die from ischaemic heart disease (IHD), lung cancer, stroke, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

In 10 years to 2011, the incidence of cancer among Maori females was 45 per cent higher than other females. Breast, lung, uterine, and colorectal cancers were most common among Hawke's Bay Maori women. Their rate of lung cancer was 4.2 times the rate for other women.

Maori males were most likely to die from IHD, diabetes, accidents, lung cancer and COPD.

The most common cancers for Maori males were lung, prostate, colorectal and stomach. Lung cancer was the most common cause of cancer death for Maori - in males and females.

In 2013, 39,500 Maori lived in the Hawke's Bay District Health Board region. They comprised 25 per cent of the total population.

The Hawke's Bay Maori population was showing signs of ageing, the profile said. In 2013, the median age was 23.6 years.