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Indigenous child health in New Zealand: Some surgical issues


Associate Professor Jonathan B Koea, The Department of Surgery, Auckland City Hospital, Private Bag 92024, Auckland, New Zealand. Fax: +64 9375 4334; email:


New Zealand Maori make up nearly 15% of the population of New Zealand, and their population has increased significantly in the last 20 years. Because of this, the average age of Maori is only 22.7 years with 35% of Maori aged 15 years or less. In spite of this youthful profile, the Maori population has high health needs with trauma, ear disease, respiratory disease and infectious diseases as significant causes of hospitalisation and death. The role of surgery in the management of three potentially preventable but significant health issues affecting Maori children – trauma, cutaneous sepsis (cellulitis and superficial abscess) and obesity – is reviewed.