Report indicates that Maori women experience inequalities in access to maternity care services Friday, 8 November 2013

Tariana Turia - Press Release

A research report released today by the Ministry of Health shows that Maori women experience inequalities in access to maternity care and report lower levels of satisfaction with maternity services than most other women from other ethnic groups. The report Hapu Ora:Well-being in the Early Stages of Life aims to identify research priorities for the life course of Maori with a specific focus on wellbeing at the early stage of life.

"This report is crucial in highlighting what affects early physical, social and cognitive development of Maori babies.  We know that Maori babies suffer disproportionately from low birth weight, pre-term birth, stillbirths and neonatal mortality than most other ethnic groups.  Improving the support services we provide in these early stages of life will help prevent negative outcomes later in life," says Associate Minister of Health, Tariana Turia.

The research report identified three key research priorities for further work which include addressing societal conditions, supporting the mother and her baby and the whanau and improving services to ensure best practice maternity and newborn support for Maori mothers, their babies and families.

"We need to do a better job of meeting the needs of Maori mothers and their families by identifying and supporting not only their physical needs but also their mental health and well-being.  Anyone who has been through pregnancy and childbirth understands and knows not only the absolute joy of a new-born in their lives but also how stressful this journey can be at times - we need to do everything we can to understand and reduce these pressures on Maori mothers and their families," says Mrs Turia.

The report was developed by Massey University's Whariki Research Group and jointly funded by the Ministry of Health and the Health Research Council of New Zealand.   It is available through the Ministry of Health website.


To read the NZCPHM Policy Statement on the First 1000 days of life, click here.