The Daily Bork

June 09, 2005

Maoris vs Indians

I have no idea what to make of this...

American Indians better off than Maori - researcher

The health gap between Maori and European New Zealanders is wider than that between American Indians and the United States majority white population, a researcher from Auckland University has found.

The glaring problem is, as always in these idiot studies, that of identification. Who is a member of which population? You would be hard pressed to find Maori without some significant European ancestry. Any consideration of specific genetic advantages/disadvantages are also studiously ignored.

For example, Maori males had a life expectancy 8.9 years less than that of non-Maori males, compared with American Indian males whose life expectancy was 7.4 years less than white males.

What exactly this shows? 8.9 and 7.4 with variances of ...?

"In the case of nearly all of these indicators the health status of Maori people was found to be lower than that of American Indians, when compared to the majority European populations," he said.

Note the emphasis of "when compared to the majority European populations". So maybe the American "white" population is just healthier than the NZ "white" population. Not an unreasonable proposition, certainly no less plausible than "Indians" are more healthy than "Maori". America is richer by far after all. Exactly how comparable are the "white" populations anyway? The American "white" population is far more varied than that of NZ.

No doubt there are differences in the health of arbitrarily defined populations, it would be surprising if there weren't. But what exactly is the point of this article? The results are opaque due to the iffy nature of the comparisons presented and no definition of the groups are provided. So it means, what?

"In the United States they have a system of delivering health services directly to the indigenous population. It is controlled by American Indians and community based, so it has outreach directly into American Indian communities.

"Here in New Zealand, while we have around 200 Maori health providers, many of which are in rural areas, the majority of Maori people still attend non-Maori health providers and the responsiveness of non-Maori providers to Maori could be further enhanced".

The US provides direct to Indians via communities, fine. There are 200 Maori health providers! 200! The population of NZ is 4 million, with the Maori fraction being somewhere between 10-20% I think. How many providers are needed???


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