After controlling for factors such as age, underlying health conditions and socioeconimic deprivation, the Maori and Pacific people have risk of being hospitalized from COVID-19 infection.
Nicholas Steyn, Dr Rachelle Binny, Kate Hannah, Professor Shaun Hendy, Associate Professor Alex James, Dr Audrey Lustig, Dr Kannan Ridings, Professor Michael Plank, Andrew Sporle


To determine whether there are significant differences by ethnicity in the risk of clinically severe outcomes from COVID-19 in Aotearoa New Zealand, measured by the hospitalisation rate and length of hospital stay.


We developed three separate risk models to quantify the risk of hospitalisation, length of hospital stay and fatality risk. Each model used the same methodology and set of predictor variables.


Our results show that an 80-year-old patient with COVID-19 in the NZ European/Other group without reported comorbidities has the same predicted risk of hospitalisation as a 59.3-year-old (95% CI 46.9–73.7 years old) patient in the Māori group without reported comorbidities. Similarly, an 80-year-old patient in the NZ European/Other group without reported comorbidities has the same predicted risk of hospitalisation as a 54.7-year-old (95% CI 43.6–67.7 years old) patient in the Pacific group without reported comorbidities. Similar differences are seen across all ages and for cases with at least one reported comorbidity. These differences in age-specific risk are broadly consistent with earlier estimates of inequities in the COVID-19 infection fatality rate.


After controlling for age, presence of underlying health conditions and socioeconomic deprivation, we conclude that Māori and Pacific people have substantially higher risk of hospitalisation for COVID-19.

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First published: Jul 9, 2021
COVID-19 Modelling Aotearoa
[COVID-19 Modelling Aotearoa](, is a cross-organisation and transdisciplinary group of academic researchers and scientists that were brought together by Te Pūnaha Matatini to help Aotearoa New Zealand face the COVID-19 pandemic. Our work is underpinned by Te Tiriti o Waitangi, fast and committed peer review, and ethics. These parameters ensure that the modelling developed by our broad team is uniquely equipped to provide scientifically robust results which are fit for Aotearoa New Zealand and support our decision-making.