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Statistics on teenage birth rates should be viewed through an intersectional lens as Māori and Pasifika women are still overrepresented, a health support and advocacy group says.
Data from Statistics New Zealand released last week revealed the number of teenage women in Aotearoa giving birth has more than halved in the past 10 years.
But E Tipu E Rea Whānau Services chief executive officer Zoe Hawke says there are many intersectional factors to consider when looking at the teenage pregnancy rates and one of them is ethnicity.
"We need to be digging deeper into the stats because we must ensure the tautoko is there for young Māori and Pacific parents,” she said.
"Alongside this we must be able to resource our young whānau appropriately, so we can ensure the best long-term health outcomes for whānau and not let them slip through the cracks because we are patting ourselves on the back for decreasing statistical numbers."
There were 1065 births to Māori teenage women in 2022 compared to 837 to European teenage women. There were 447 births to Pasifika teenage women.
Since 2012, the number of teenage births is down 58.2% for Europeans, 46.6% for Māori and 41.8% for Pasifika.
"When we consider other health outcomes such as maternal mental health and suicide for young Māori māmā we can see the dire need for the continual tautoko [support] of our social services and healthcare systems,” Hawke said.
Hawke said teenage māmā are isolated and discriminated against in all parts of their lives.
"We hope that with the sharing of these new statistics which are positive, we do not forget that there were still over a thousand teenagers who were hapū last year and became māmā and require our tautoko, the majority of whom were Māori and Pacific."