16 Apr 2013

Life expectancy gap narrows

7:39 pm on 16 April 2013

The life expectancy gap between Maori and non Maori has narrowed to 7.3 years.

Statistics New Zealand has released figures collected between 2010 and 2012, which show Maori men can expect to live to 72.8, and Maori women to 76.5 years.

Non-Maori are expected to live about seven years longer - men until 80.2 years and non-Maori women until 83.7 years.

A decade ago, between 2000 and 2002, non-Maori lived for about eight and a half more years.

An Auckland University specialist in Maori health and tobacco research, Doctor Marewa Glover, says Maori are smoking less, and that's reflected in their greater life expectancy.

She says the disparity will hopefully narrow further with the continued push for healthier lifestyles.

Statistics New Zealand says about 60% of the difference between Maori and non-Maori life expectancy comes from higher death rates between the ages of 50 and 79.