Suicide rates for young Māori men are two-and-a-half times that of their non-Māori counterparts.
An article by John Snowden in the New Zealand Medical Journal looks at the change in age patterns of the country's suicide rates.
Dr Snowden said there was a time when suicide among young people was uncommon and the highest level was in old age.
He said that had changed completely over the past 50 years and there was now a peak in males in their 20s - probably because of the higher Māori rates.
"Young men particularly, it's gone right up, it's about 40 or 50 per 100,000, whereas for young men it's about 18 to 20 per 100,000."
Dr Snowden said the rise in Māori suicide rates had occurred since 1980.
He said the government should take a very serious look at what was happening.
Where to get help:
Lifeline: 0800 543 354
Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 / 0508 TAUTOKO (24/7). This is a service for people who may be thinking about suicide, or those who are concerned about family or friends.
Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757 (24/7)
Samaritans: 0800 726 666 (24/7)
Youthline: 0800 376 633 (24/7) or free text 234 (8am-12am), or email firstname.lastname@example.org
What's Up: online chat (7pm-10pm) or 0800 WHATSUP / 0800 9428 787 children's helpline (1pm-10pm weekdays, 3pm-10pm weekends)
Kidsline (ages 5-18): 0800 543 754 (24/7)
Rural Support Trust Helpline: 0800 787 254
Healthline: 0800 611 116
Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.