1.3.1 Youthfulness of Maori population

Before discussing the range of possible explanations for different rates of Māori involvement, a simple source of disproportionality needs to be described. This is the younger age structure of the Māori population: Statistics New Zealand (SNZ) figures (2004) indicate that around 25% of all Māori are aged between 15-29 years, while just 20% of the non-Māori population are. Given that most people caught up in the criminal justice system are in that age bracket, this demographic fact undoubtedly accounts for some of the disproportionality in numbers of Māori offenders; the likely relative contribution is discussed further below. This factor also underlies some of differences described in Section 3 of numbers of children of various ethnicities affected by risk factors in childhood.