Maori infants are more likely to have poorer health outcomes, less access to health services and are more likely to die in the first year of life than non-Maori. Maori infants also have more admissions to hospital for respiratory illnesses and are less likely to be fully immunised than non-Maori. To understand what is happening to Maori infants, we will use qualitative research methods to identify barriers to, and facilitators of, appropriate health care and wellness for pregnant Maori women under 20 years of age. We will also examine the social, economic and policy factors that may impact on health outcomes. Our findings will inform policy, and together with results of a related retrospective 10-year cohort study of Maori and non-Maori pregnant women, will provide essential information for the design of an appropriate whanau ora intervention to improve health outcomes (reduced mortality and disability) for Maori infants.