Sensitivity Warning

First Peoples

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this resource may contain images or names of people who have since passed away.


Until January 2022, Aotearoa New Zealand experienced very low rates of COVID-19 and, therefore, few hospitalisations or deaths due to the virus. However, with the Omicron variant quickly becoming established in our community, from 1 January to 26 August 2022, a total of 1,797 people sadly died due to COVID-19 (that is, where COVID-19 was related to the cause of death). This number excludes people who died with, but not because of, COVID-19. This equates to 34 in every 100,000 New Zealanders having died due to COVID-19 during this time period.

This study has also found that people who had any co-morbidities (underlying health conditions) had more than six times the risk than people without co-morbidities. For people under the age of 60, almost all who died had a known underlying health condition. In young Māori and Pacific peoples, over half their excess risk compared with ‘European and Other’ was due to having an underlying condition. It has already been established that Māori and Pacific peoples are more likely to develop health conditions at earlier ages compared with other ethnicities, putting their younger people at much higher risk of death from COVID-19 when compared with younger people of other ethnicities.

For all ethnicities, being vaccinated provided substantial protection. Across all New Zealanders, having two or more doses of a vaccine reduced the risk of death by 62 percent compared with having fewer than two doses. The protective effect of a third dose (booster) will be addressed in a future report. Whilst the success of our vaccination campaign has contributed significantly to the low risk of death in Aotearoa, it has not provided equitable health outcomes across all communities.

Publication Details
License type:
Access Rights Type: