Niuean health professionals want to know why their community has the worst health of all Pasifika peoples in New Zealand despite decades of free access to care.
Niueans have the highest rate of diabetes and hospital admissions among all Pasifika groups.
Auckland University researcher Vili Nosa said especially Niuean men were dying early from heart and respiratory disease, stroke, diabetes and lung cancer.
About 40 researchers, doctors, nurses and other health practitioners set up the Niue Health Group to look into what people think will lead to better health.
Spokesperson Nuhisifa Williams said it was time for them to take the lead in identifying what the Niuean community thought would improve people's health.
"Being under the broad Pacific group hasn't worked for us, and it's also a recognition that a lot of us need to work with our communities, but more impertinently our own families to insure that they have better health outcomes."
She said Niue was low on expertise and resources.
"The director of health has talked about the issues of diabetes and about working with the Niuean health practitioners in New Zealand to share some of the practice."
She said it was not clear why Niuean health was so poor despite decades of free access to New Zealand healthcare.