International call to reduce preventable harm and death for Indigenous peoples

An international alliance across four nations is calling for governments to address the inequities faced by indigenous people in pregnancy and childbirth.

14 May 2023

The Alliance for Perinatal and Reproductive Justice composes physicians, nurses, midwives, researchers, elders, knowledge holders, and advocates from across New Zealand, Australia, the United States, and Canada and includes researchers from Te Tātai Hauora o Hine—The National Centre for Women’s Health Research Aotearoa at Victoria University of Wellington.

The Alliance is calling for governments to:

  • Dismantle the systemic structural barriers resulting in health inequities in the form of avoidable death and harm during the perinatal period.
  • Address the inequitable representation of Indigenous peoples in the healthcare workforce.
  • Eliminate anti-Indigenous racism.
  • Build relationships with Indigenous peoples based on a recognition of Indigenous individuals’ Human Rights and Indigenous peoples’ collective rights.

Indigenous babies and pregnant people experience perinatal-related preventable harm and death internationally. In Aotearoa, Māori women have higher rates of adverse pregnancy outcomes and Māori babies have almost twice the death rate in the first 28 days of life compared to Europeans.

Professor Bev Lawton, Director of Te Tātai Hauora o Hine, says that the current system is unsafe for Māori, and the statement gives a roadmap to governments to convert challenges into opportunities.

TRIGGER WARNING/CONTENT WARNING: The linked statement below contains frank discussion of infant and perinatal mortality.

Read the full statement and recommendations for action at

About the The Alliance for Perinatal and Reproductive Justice

The Alliance was formed following the Urgent Indigenous Perinatal Health Forum, held in Vancouver in July 2022.

The Alliance aims to inform and propel a collective action plan for the global improvement of perinatal outcomes for Indigenous peoples.

Members of The Alliance for Perinatal and Reproductive Justice include representatives from:

  • Te Tātai Hauora o Hine (The National Centre for Women’s Health Research Aotearoa, Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand).
  • The Molly Wardaguga Research Centre (Faculty of Health, Charles Darwin University, Australia).
  • Pewaseskwan (The Indigenous Wellness Research Group, University of Saskatchewan, Canada).
  • First Nations Health & Social Secretariat of Manitoba (Winnipeg, Canada).
  • Ongomiizwin Research (University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada).
  • Faculty of Health Sciences (University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada).
  • Te Kura i Awarua Māori Research Centre (Aotearoa New Zealand).
  • Well Living House, Unity Health Toronto and DLSPH/DFCM, University of Toronto (Toronto, Canada)
  • University of Toronto Alumni of Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work's Indigenous Trauma and Resiliency Field of Study (British Columbia, Canada).
  • Kōhatu Centre for Hauora Māori (University of Otago, Dunedin, Aotearoa New Zealand).
  • Department of Women’s and Children’s (University of Otago, Dunedin, Aotearoa New Zealand).
  • Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (University of Illinois, Chicago, Illinois, United States).
  • Indigenous Health Equity Unit (University of Melbourne, Australia).
  • Seventh Generation Midwives Toronto (Toronto, Canada).
  • University of Victoria (Victoria, British Colombia, Canada)
  • Ngā Maia Trust (Aotearoa New Zealand).
  • National Centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Wellbeing Research (Australian National University, Australia).
  • Te Whatu Ora - Te Matau a Māui - (Hawke’s Bay, Aotearoa New Zealand).
  • Waminda South Coast Women's Health and Wellbeing Corporation (New South Wales, Australia)
  • Indigenous Wellness Research Institute (University of Washington, United States).
  • Mana Wāhine (Lower Hutt, Aotearoa New Zealand).
  • School of Public Health (University of Saskatchewan, Canada).
  • Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (Australia).
  • College of Nursing (University of Saskatchewan, Canada).
  • Māori and Indigenous Health Innovation (University of Otago, Dunedin, Aotearoa New Zealand).
  • Te Whatu Ora – Waitematā (Waitematā, Aotearoa New Zealand).