A new research project looking at the heart size of Maori and Pasifika people will hopefully enable medical staff to properly diagnose patients for cardiovascular disease.
Professor Gillian Whalley from Unitech would begin her study early next year, scanning the hearts of 900 healthy people - 300 Maori, 300 Samoan and the rest European.
Professor Whalley said Maori and Pasifika people have a high muscle mass, which should mean they have larger hearts.
However, she said they are being diagnosed for heart disease based on medical charts from data for Europeans - and that has the potential of mismanaging a patient's condition and could lead to misdiagnosing a patient.
She said patients would be burdened with worry, but their heart could be the right size for their body and in some cases it may mean another problem was missed.
Professor Whalley expected to complete the research by 2016 and had been awarded $200,000 by the Heart Research Council.