Hawke's Bay District Health Board has treated 116 children with injuries related to suspected physical or sexual abuse in the past five years.
The statistics revealed to the Hawke's Bay Today in an Official Information Act response show the DHB saw six cases of suspected sexual or physical abuse in children aged 0 to 17 in the first two months of the year alone.
Children's Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft said even one case was "too high".
"Children are taonga. There's no greater responsibility in life than to love and support our youngest people and ensure they grow up happy and healthy," Becroft said.
"The numbers of suspected abuse have been relatively stable in the Hawke's Bay district in the last five years, but even one case is too high."
He said Aotearoa New Zealand's rate of abuse relative to many other countries was a matter for "concern and indeed shame".
"We must expect high standards from the caregivers of children. However, child abuse usually doesn't exist in a vacuum", he said.
"It is often interrelated with, but not caused by, a high level of toxic stress some families live with such as poverty, mental health, insecure and unhealthy housing and food insecurity. These are all underlying systemic issues we have failed to address.
"Better and more coordinated early intervention and support is needed. Government agencies must work together with whānau, hapū, iwi and wider family groups to provide wrap-around support for families."
Hawke's Bay DHB chief operating officer Chris Ash said it was "not okay" for children to be abused in any way.
"Assaults of children are a societal issue where it will take us all, government and non-government agencies along with the wider public, to rally together to make a difference," Ash said.
"Our staff that come into contact with suspected child abuse of any sort should be recognised and commended for the difference they make to those children to help support their safety and wellbeing by alerting the relevant agencies to investigate and follow through.
"It is not okay for children to be abused in any way and the work the DHB is doing, for instance through Te Ara Manapou, is just one example where health can provide wraparound supports."
Te Ara Manapou was a non-judgmental intensive support service for pregnant women or parents with children under 3 who were experiencing problems with alcohol or drugs, he said.
The DHB holds inpatient admission data where physical or sexual abuse is suspected, and data is collected based on a patient being assessed for "signs" of physical or sexual abuse.
The statistics revealed that in 2016 the DHB saw 20 cases of suspected sexual and physical abuse, 30 in 2017, 19 in 2018, 21 in 2020 and six in January and February 2021.
All cases of child abuse and neglect were reported to the police or Oranga Tamariki, as per clinical policy guidelines and a Memorandum of Understanding between the three organisations.
The DHB does not hold information regarding outcomes of investigations.