OBJECTIVES: We compared the health statuses of the indigenous populations of New Zealand and the United States with those of the numerically dominant populations of these countries. METHODS: Health indicators compared included health outcome measures, preventive care measures, modifiable risk factor prevalence, and treatment measures. RESULTS: In the case of nearly every health status indicator assessed, disparities (both absolute and relative) were more pronounced for Maoris than for American Indians/Alaska Natives. Both indigenous populations suffered from disparities across a range of health indicators. However, no disparities were observed for American Indians/Alaska Natives in regard to immunization coverage. CONCLUSIONS: Ethnic health disparities appear to be more pronounced in New Zealand than in the United States. These disparities are not necessarily intractable. Although differences in national health sector responses exist, New Zealand may be well placed in the future to evaluate the effectiveness of new strategies to reduce these disparities given the extent and quality of Maori-specific health information available.