There is an urgent need for leadership and a coordinated and ongoing response across the health sector to achieve high quality ethnicity data, according to a report released by Te Aka Whai Ora.   

In 2023 Te Aka Whai Ora | Māori Health Authority commissioned two reports from Dr Ricci Harris and Dr Melissa McLeod (prepared with support from Te Aka Whai Ora staff): ‘Action plan for achieving high quality ethnicity data in the health and disability sector’ (the Action Plan) and ‘Considerations for Māori Data Analyses’ (the Data Analyses report). 

The Action Plan examines the current issues associated with collecting ethnicity data and sets out suggested actions for health agencies, and for local and regional providers to address the issues outlined in the report.  

Additionally, the Action Plan outlines how high-quality ethnicity data are critical for Māori health improvement, and it is the responsibility of the entire health system to collect, record and report ethnicity data in the ways set out in established international protocols. 

The Data Analyses report focusses on a kaupapa Māori epidemiological and principles-based approach to measuring and monitoring Māori health and equity, underpinned by Te Tiriti o Waitangi.  

The Data Analyses report also describes key methods and concepts for Crown health agencies (and other groups who undertake Māori health data analyses) to consider in meeting their legislative obligations and responsibilities to Māori health under the Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Act 2022 and Te Tiriti o Waitangi. 

“There is a fundamental need to ensure high quality ethnicity data is both collected and analysed across the health system in order to improve Māori health and eliminate ethnic health inequities, which will improve health outcomes for all New Zealanders, says Te Aka Whai Ora DCE Mātauranga Māori, Kingi Kiriona. 

“Accurate ethnicity data helps to make sure that enough funding is allocated to address Māori health needs, so that we can identify Māori individuals for the delivery of targeted health services such as cardiovascular risk assessments and bowel screening,” says Kingi.  

Te Aka Whai Ora is working with Health New Zealand and the Ministry of Health in relation to the recommendations in both reports.  

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