National | Diagnosis

'It's a Treaty issue': Thousands of Māori with dyslexia are not being diagnosed - Expert

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Thousands of Māori with dyslexia, which affects a person's ability to read, write and spell, are not being diagnosed, experts say.

"Māori are disproportionately disadvantaged by our current regime in New Zealand," dyslexia specialist Mike Styles has told 1 News.

"It would be in the tens of thousands of people in New Zealand who are missing out. And here's the thing. It is an equity issue for Māori. And it is, I believe, a treaty issue."

Diagnosis can cost up to $1500, which is out of reach for many Māori.

Speld NZ, which provides support for those with dyslexia, told 1 News that Māori made up just over 3% of those it assessed for dyslexia in 2021. The overwhelming majority of assessments were for Pākehā, it said.

Education Minister Jan Tinetti said the disparity is 'disturbing'.

"I think it's disturbing that we're seeing those figures, we would like to see more Māori accessing the ability to be able to get a diagnosis."