Frequently asked questions about Growing Up in New Zealand


Growing Up in New Zealand is New Zealand's most contemporary longitudinal study on child development and generates lots of interest and questions. Find some of them answered below.

What is Growing Up in New Zealand?


Growing Up in New Zealand (GUiNZ) is an exciting and contemporary longitudinal study of New Zealand children designed to get quality information about them and their families so we can find ways to improve their lives. We are tracking almost 7,000 children who were born between April 2009 and March 2010, and their families. The study will look at what it is like to be a child in New Zealand today and how the things that happen during childhood influence our adult lives.

Find more information about the study and why it is important

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What is a longitudinal study?


A longitudinal study collects information about the same group of people over a long period of time. The Growing Up research team interviews the same group of children and their parents/guardians every 12-18 months, starting from when the mother was 28 weeks pregnant. The children will be interviewed until they turn 21.

Find more information about our data collection waves

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Why does New Zealand need a longitudinal study about its children?


The last longitudinal studies of New Zealand children began in the 1970s. These are still going, and the children are now in their 30s. However, a lot has changed in New Zealand since those studies began, particularly our increasing ethnic diversity, and we need new information to help government deliver services and support.

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Why is this study important?


New Zealand has the highest rate of child deaths due to accidents and injuries compared to other developed countries. It also has the second to lowest immunisation rates and a greater proportion of our children growing up in relative poverty. We want to refocus ineffective strategies into spending that benefits every child by finding out what works well. Child development is a very complex process, which is influenced by a wide range of factors. It is important to understand how early experiences and family circumstances influence a child's education, employment and social interactions.

Read more about our research and some preliminary results from the study

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How will the information from this study improve children's lives?


Growing Up in New Zealand is a population study, which means it does not look at just one area of a child's life. It involves questions about the child's family/whanāu, neighbourhood, health and wellbeing, education, development and living in New Zealand. The findings will help policy makers provide evidence-based policies to government.

Read more about our research and some preliminary results from the study

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How will participants and the public benefit from Growing Up in New Zealand?


Many organisations (including government) in New Zealand develop policies and programmes and all kinds of strategies in order to try and help families reach their potential. Growing Up in New Zealand has strong links with these agencies, and will be able to provide good evidence about what is working for New Zealand families. We will be able to describe a huge number of areas that are influencing New Zealand children today, and we will be finding out what is enabling children to be happy, healthy and able to cope with difficulties and challenges.

Agencies will be able to use this research to make sure that their policies and strategies can best work for future children. We expect that the general public will also be very interested to hear about what Growing Up in New Zealand has found, as one of the aims of this study is to provide evidence to help all families in New Zealand.

Read more about our research and some preliminary results from the study

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When did the study begin and who are the families you interview?


In mid-2008 we recruited 200 women to be part of our Leading Light group. The study officially began on 1 February 2009. Every woman who was due between 25 April 2009 and 25 March 2010 and lived in the Auckland, Counties Manukau or Waikato district health board areas could enrol in the study. We have enrolled first-time and experienced mothers, young women and mature women, and women having one baby or a multiple birth. We have women who live in the country, small towns and cities, and we have mothers of different ethnicities such as Māori, New Zealand European, Asian and Pacific.

Read more about the cohort

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Who is running the study?


Growing Up in New Zealand is based at the University of Auckland and led by Associate Professor Susan Morton. Researchers from Auckland, Victoria, Otago and Dunedin universities are also involved. Funding comes from several government agencies, and the government contract for the study is managed by the Social Policy Evaluation and Research Unit (or Superu for short).

Meet our research and biostatistics team

Find out more about our funders

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Why is it called 'Growing Up in New Zealand' when the study only enrolled women from the Upper North Island?


We chose this region for its combination of rural and urban districts, socio-economic range and ethnic diversity. These factors give our research team a child population sample that is generally reflective of all New Zealand children being born today.

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What is involved in the study?


We first interviewed our participants (mothers and fathers/partners) when the mothers were between 28 and 35 weeks' pregnant. We re-interviewed them when the children were nine months, two years and four-and-a-half years old. Families are also contacted in between interviewing years for short catch-ups on the phone and online interviews.

Find more information about our data collection waves

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What happens to the information collected at the interviews?


All information that could identify participants is removed and the answers are then analysed. The results are written up as academic papers and reports to help government with its policy making.

See our publications and learn more about current research projects with Growing Up in New Zealand data.

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Ongoing funding is sought for the duration of the project. What are the areas of interest?


The study aims to examine the impact of New Zealand's unique social and cultural environment on the next generation and will further understanding of development in early childhood through to adolescence. Growing Up in New Zealand explores a range of research areas about children's development and wellbeing and their families including:

  • Children's social and emotional development
  • Family demographics
  • Parenting
  • Education and employment
  • Learning environment
  • Health, diet and exercise
  • Housing
  • Finances

If you or your business are interested in supporting or working with us, please contact us.

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Who do I contact if I want more information or have any concerns about the study?


If you have any questions, concerns or complaints about the study at any stage, please contact

Growing Up in New Zealand
Phone: 0508 476 946
Email: contact@growingup.co.nz

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