The latest suicide data is a telling story of the impact of suicide on Māori and the New Zealand Māori Council want to do something about it.

The Māori suicide statistics totalled 142 deaths across the country, the highest since the provisional statistics were first recorded for the 2007/08 year.

Male Māori continue to be disproportionally represented in the provisional suicide statistics with 97 deaths last year.

New Zealand Māori Council chairman Taihakurei Durie said the figures were both distressing and of immense concern to all New Zealanders, Māori in particular:

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"The data tells no lies. We have all witnessed firsthand the devastation suicide brings to our whānau and communities and the mere fact Māori are the highest single per head of population rate in the country and around the world is not a first we want.

"We must do more to bring these rates down and here at New Zealand Maori Council we believe we have a significant leadership role to play."

Suicide Prevention Australia chairman Matthew Tukaki has been working in collaboration with the Australian Government, State and Territories to bring the country's suicide rate down in recent years.

"It is a national tragedy that New Zealand's suicide data shows a significant increase - this is the data that we should all be turning our attention to and we need to have honest conversations about where we go as a nation - from here.

"When it comes Māori we need to have a single national approach driven by Māori for Māori – where Māori have a say in what services they want and need – including how they should be delivered. These are times for the most honest of conversations."

New Zealand Māori Council has begun the work of establishing that leadership role.

A national sub-committee focussed on Māori health and wellbeing has been established and will be led by respected Māori health professional, Henare Mason.

Membership of the committee will be drawn from Māori communities across the country not just mental health, health and wellbeing professionals.

An opportunity to give voice to every day Māori , whānau and communities when it comes to solutions.

Te Tatau o Te Arawa chairman Te Taru White said you only had to look at the statistics for Māori across all social categories and it wasn't good.

"I applaud any work that's being done on the issue of suicide because it's a terrible statistic.

"There are lots of lost souls out there and I would support the approach of the New Zealand Māori Council."

He said there were generations of Māori who had lost their identity.

"They've lost touch with traditional Māori values.

"It's about building self esteem and self worth and the core to that is the traditional values.

"I think trying to find a remedy that brings people back to that space is certainly a very postitive step."

Where to get help:

If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.

Or if you need to talk to someone else:

Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
Youthline: 0800 376 633
Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 (available 24/7)
Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
Samaritans 0800 726 666
Rural Support Trust: 0800 787 254.