The Office of the Chief Coroner has released its annual provisional suspected suicide statistics which indicate that Māori continue to be disproportionately negatively affected by suicide. 

Selah Hart, Maiaka Hapori Deputy Chief Executive Public and Population Health, Te Aka Whai Ora, says that although suicide rates have dropped among other population groups, the rates for Māori remain the same and higher than other groups. 

“The impact of suicide is felt deeply by each of us. Our thoughts and aroha are with whānau impacted by suicide,” she says. 

“The devastating numbers released indicate that Māori rates of suicide over the last year remain at twice the number of suicides compared to non-Māori. 

“Māori disproportionately carry the weight of lives lost to suicide, risk to loved ones and bereavement of whānau, friends and communities. 

“This is why Te Aka Whai Ora has increased funding to kaupapa Māori suicide prevention services across the motu to strengthen their important role in building resilience and mental wellbeing within hapū, hapori and whānau Māori to support the prevention of suicide in communities,” says Selah. 

Te Aka Whai Ora tripled its investment in Kia Piki te Ora Kaupapa Māori Suicide Prevention Services, going from $1.6million in the 21/22 financial year to $4.3million in the 23/24 financial year. 

Kia Piki te Ora services are underpinned by te ao Māori approaches, including those consistent with mātauranga Māori and whānau/hapori led solutions to wellbeing. These services are accessible to all people in Aotearoa. 

“The design of these services is locally led to ensure programmes are tailored to meet the needs of whānau in each rohe. They incorporate the aspirations of whānau, hapū, iwi and hapori and the voices of those with lived experience and whānau impacted by suicide.  

“It will take time to see the impact of these newly funded and expanded services, but we have confidence that Kia Piki te Ora services will make an impact in reducing Māori rates of suicide and the impact it has on whānau and communities,” Selah says. 

Suicide prevention is a priority of the Oranga Hinengaro work programme at Te Aka Whai Ora. This investment aligns to and delivers on Te Pae Tata Interim New Zealand Health Plan actions to construct suicide prevention approaches with mātauranga Māori approaches to reduce the rate of suicide and suicidal behaviour. 

The Office of the Chief Coroner released the annual provisional suspected suicide statistics via the Te Whatu Ora interactive webtool, which provides a single comprehensive source of information on both suspected and confirmed deaths by suicide in Aotearoa New Zealand. 

If you or your whānau need to talk: 

  • Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor 
  • Lifeline 0800 543 354 or 09 522 2999 or free text 4357 (HELP) 
  • Suicide Prevention Helpline 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOK0) 
  • Youthline 0800 376 633 or free text 234