A kidney disease expert says Pacific people may be more prone to non-diabetes triggered renal failure than others.
Education specialist at Kidney Health New Zealand Carmel Gregan-Ford's comments came as calls for dialysis treatment to be provided in Tonga strengthen.
The Tongan government said it did not have the finances to provide dialysis treatment although the Tonga Dialysis Foundation said hundreds of people were in need of it.
The government said the majority of kidney disease cases developed from diabetes and it is focussed on prevention and management of diabetes rather than dialysis.
Ms Gregan-Ford said while diabetes brought on most kidney disease, Pacific people may be susceptible in other ways.
"Perhaps the ethnicity certainly has a bit to do with that. There are large differences in the incidences of proteinuria, that's protein in the urine, hypotension and the glumerulonephritis in Māori and Pasifika for some reason. In fact there is a 3.5-fold higher relative incidence of Māori and Pacific patients getting kidney dialysis then there is of other ethnicities."