While over time the life expectancy of women gradually overtook that of men, in the past there was often a gender crossover during the reproductive years, when the physiological burden of childbearing took a heavy toll on women. This graph shows how in 1945 Māori females had lower life expectancy than Māori men – a common pattern in societies with high rates of both fertility and mortality. A slight crossover was also observable for non-Māori in 1876.
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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.