A new report has confirmed the proposition that there's a direct relation to discrimination in the penal system and the high Māori incarceration rate.

The study was conducted by medical students from Otago University.

While researching the reasons why Māori was being incarcerated, student Lauren Hubbard says she began to understand the reasons why.

“It made me look in the mirror and that unconscious bias that really does run through our society.

“It's unconscious and people don't realise it, but it is there and especially in the health profession.”

Colonisation and racism were two main themes that came out of the report entitled ‘They're Our Whānau.’

Māori law expert Moana Jackson says the research gave them a valuable insight into why there are high rates of recidivism.

“That takes in people, abuses them and then spits them out into prison and so on, or spits them out into society and wonders why they behave the way they do.”

Jackson hopes that in time things can start to turn around.

“As doctors, they will hold very influential positions in their community, and if they have some understanding of what I think is one of the most pressing social issues facing this country then they may be able to help in the process of changing those dreadful statistics.”

Only time will show if, with education, racism will die out.