Polynesian (Maori and Pacific Island) children account for approximately one quarter of the children in New Zealand, but good data for lung function in this group are not available. In this review, we report lung volume measurements in 571 healthy children 5 to 13 yr of age: 270 Polynesians (139 boys and 131 girls) and 301 Europeans (177 boys and 124 girls). All measurements were made in a body plethysmograph. Polynesian boys had significantly larger VC, FVC, FRC, TLC, and expiratory reserve volume than did Polynesian girls. Polynesian and European children generally showed different slope and intercept relationships for the prediction of lung volume from height. Racial differences are not adequately explained by differences in body proportions or social factors including parental smoking. Possible explanations include racial differences in lung growth and maturation.