Indigenous Australians and Maori have higher levels of ill health and mortality than non Indigenous people. The disadvantage suffered by Indigenous peoples is associated with racism, colonisation and oppression. Although several recent national and international reports have shown a link between racism and public health, there is little research on this topic in Australia or New Zealand (Aotearoa). This discussion paper highlights the importance of sound research in endeavours to combat racism as a threat to Indigenous health in Australia and Aotearoa. It is intended as an impetus to policy and decision makers at national, regional and local levels to engage in efforts to combat racism against Indigenous peoples as a public health intervention.