Māori are more than seven times more likely than Pākehā to be on the receiving end of police force, a "shameful" statistic that has not changed in over six years despite numerous strategies to address it.
Justice advocates say the data - in the 2019 Tactical Options Report - is "shameful" and racist, while the Police Association say the disproportionate rates reflect wider failures of society and a broken mental health system.
In 2019 there was a substantial jump in incidents that involved police force - 4860, up from 4398 in 2018, and representing 0.16 per cent of all police interactions, up from 0.1 per cent the previous year.
On a per capita basis Māori were 7.2 more likely than Pākehā to be on the receiving end of such force, including OC (pepper) spray, empty hand tactics, Taser and firearms.
During offender proceedings, force was used against Māori 40 per cent more often than Pākehā - an increase from 24 per cent in 2014.
In particular Māori males aged between 17 and 40 years, who make up less than 3 per cent of the general population, accounted for 22 per cent of all offender proceedings, and 35 per cent of all use of force events.
The report also found increasing amounts of such incidents relating to mental health issues, with one in five involving either mental illness or suicidal behaviour.
The report authors discussed further work was needed to understand why the overrepresentation was so high for that group, a potential need to alter de-escalation strategies and improve community relations and trust in police.
But given the disproportionate rates against Māori had barely changed since the first such report in 2014, AUT associate law professor Khylee Quince said such comments were "disingenuous".
Such issues were even highlighted over three decades ago by Moana Jackson in his report He Whaipaanga Hou which canvassed racism within the justice system.
"The data concerning police use of force confirms long-term patterns of ongoing discrimination towards Māori, as well as males and young people.
"These behaviours are not new, and we should not be dancing around attitudes and behaviours of institutional and operational racism over three decades on."
More concentration on inquiring into racism against Māori was required, along with tackling "embedded attitudes and behaviours that underpin the low trust relationship referred to in the report".
The number of incidents where people were injured by police had also substantially increased, from 826 in 2018 to 939 in 2019.
Most injuries were caused by empty hand techniques and police dogs, while the least involved Taser and pepper spray.
Māori were nearly nine times more likely than Pākehā to experience Taser deployment per capita.
Over half of all Taser discharges were directed at Māori, the vast majority (71 per cent) males aged between 17 and 40 years.
Police discharged firearms during eight incidents, where three people were killed, and three injured.
Police Association president Chris Cahill said the disproportionate rates were "a concern", but reflected the reality of what police were confronted with.
"Majority of events arise from family harm - 50 per cent, and mental health - 20 per cent, and those are both areas Māori and Pasifika are overrepresented in.
"That is an indictment on New Zealand, and police have to deal with those indictments."
Māori were subjects in 54 per cent of all events where force was used, while accounting for 44 per cent of all offender proceedings, including 48 per cent of violence offences.
Clearly relations between young Māori males and police was "strained", and Cahill said more needed to be done to improve it.
"That group is probably the most disenfranchised and alienated in society, reflecting a failure of our education system, our health system, and police are dealing with the other end of that."
Fewer incidents would also occur if more resources were put into mental health and family violence, Cahill said.
"We don't think police are often the best equipped to deal with people suffering mental health issues, but due to lack of mental health workers and crisis teams police are increasingly called on."
People Against Prisons Aotearoa spokeswoman Emilie Rākete said it was not good enough to simply blame the statistics on societal failures.
"These issues are caused by the structure of our society where Māori and Pasifika are exploited, but if our response is to beat, abuse and set attack dogs on us, to launch armed patrols in majority brown neighbourhoods, it is not good enough say it is not our fault."
Rākete, a doctoral candidate in criminology at the University of Auckland, said the latest statistics were "shameful", and indicated a failure of police strategies to address racism.
Police launched the Turning of the Tide strategy in 2012 to slash stubbornly high Māori crime and road safety statistics by 2018.
But last year it was revealed police met just two of seven targets, and over the six years Māori reoffending rates had actually increased, while for non-Māori they went down.
The low success rate raised doubts over how their new strategy, Te Huringa o Te Tai, a goal including a 25 per cent reduction in Māori reoffending rates and an increase in trust and confidence to 90 per cent by 2025 - would do any better.
"We have never had more brown cops, and Māori and Pasifika on community consultation panels, but these stats have almost never been worse," Rākete said.
"This approach is a proven failure, failed to reduce levels of racist violence."
She said police needed to be disarmed, and resources diverted into community groups and mental health to "solve the issues at the roots".
Police declined a request for an interview.
In a statement, assistant commissioner response and operations Tusha Penny said police were focused on Te Huringa o Te Tai to reduce the over-representation of Māori in the criminal justice system.
Police were also working with iwi and other partners in the community and wider justice sector, including Te Pae Oranga/Iwi community panels.