• child;
  • hospitalisation;
  • Maori;
  • New Zealand;
  • Pacific Island;
  • pneumonia


To describe the epidemiology of hospitalisations for pneumonia in children in Auckland, New Zealand.


A consecutive sample of children hospitalised with pneumonia at the Starship Childrens Hospital from 1 July 1993 to 30 June 1996. Subjects were Pacific Island, Maori, and European/other children aged 0–14 years resident in north, west and central Auckland who were hospitalised with pneumonia. Comparisons were made of the number of hospitalisations by year, ethnicity, age and season; and of the hospitalisation rates by year, ethnicity and age.


There were 681 children who were hospitalised with pneumonia during 1993–94, 731 during 1994–95 and 630 during 1995–96. The average annual hospitalisation rate was 5.0 per 1000 children aged 0–14 years (95% CI 4.8–5.2). The average annual hospitalisation rate for Pacific Island children was 14.0 per 1000 (95% CI 13.0–14.9), for Maori children 6.7 per 1000 (95% CI 6.0–7.4) and for European/other children was 2.7 per 1000 (95% CI 2.6–2.9). Fifty-three per cent of the hospitalised children were less than 2 years of age. A larger percentage of Pacific Island (61%) and Maori (60%) children were aged less than 2 years compared to European/other (42%) children (P<0.001). There was marked seasonal variability in the number of hospitalisations, with peaks in hospitalisations corresponding to peaks in positive respiratory viral isolates.


Pneumonia was a consistent cause of hospitalisation for a large number of Auckland children during this 3-year period. Hospitalisation rates and age distribution varied with ethnicity. Hospitalisation rates were highest for Pacific Island, intermediate for Maori and lowest for European/other children. Based on these hospitalisation data, pneumonia is a significant cause of morbidity for children in Auckland, New Zealand.