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Life expectancy and death rates

Note: The life expectancy data presented in this document may have been superseded by more recent life tables. For the latest life tables, go to Life Tables.

Mäori life expectancy is lower than that of non-Mäori by about 7 years. However, it has been increasing in recent decades.

A Mäori boy born in 1996 can expect to live 67 years, 13 years longer than his counterpart born in 1951. A Mäori girl born in 1996 can expect to live to age 72, up 16 years on her 1951 counterpart.

Historically Mäori life expectancy has been much lower than that of non-Mäori New Zealanders, but the gap has narrowed considerably over time. The difference in life expectancy for Mäori males and non-Mäori males has dropped from around 13 years in 1950-52 to seven years in 1996. For females, the difference between Mäori and non-Mäori life expectancy has fallen from around 15 years in 1950-52 to seven years in 1996.

Age-standardised mortality rates for Mäori fell more rapidly than for non-Mäori between 1972 and 1987. But since 1987, Mäori mortality rates have dropped more slowly than non-Mäori and the gap between Mäori and non-Mäori mortality rates has widened.

In 1994 Mäori mortality rates were greater than for non-Mäori at all ages except 15 to 24 years and 75 years and over. The differences were most marked for those aged under 1 year and for females aged 45 to 64, whose rates were nearly twice those of non-Mäori.

Mäori males aged 15 to 24 had a death rate nearly three times that of their female counterparts in 1994. At the same time, the rate for male Mäori children aged 1 to 14 was nearly twice that of their female counterparts. The gender differences in the 1 to 24-year age group is largely due to the high number of male accidental deaths, particularly in motor vehicle accidents.

For more information you can order NZ Now Maori or Te Kanohi Hou o Aotearoa: Mäori.


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