The epidemiological transition is driven by a shift in deaths from those caused by communicable diseases such as measles, smallpox and tuberculosis to those caused by non-communicable diseases such as cancer. As this graph shows, for Pākehā there was a big decrease in deaths from communicable diseases between 1876 and 1916. For Māori this decrease happened between 1945 and 1976.
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Source: I. Pool, 'Mortality trends and differentials.’ In Population of New Zealand / Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, vol. 1. ESCAP country monograph series, no. 12, 2 vols. New York: United Nations, 1985, pp. 209–242.