Using Growing Up in New Zealand data

This section provides a guide for researchers and policy-makers who are interested in using the Growing Up in New Zealand External Working Datasets. It gives information about the data sets, anonymisation processes, questionnaires, data dictionaries and the application process to access the data.

Since the study’s launch, one of our key aims has been to make this unique data resource widely available for bona fide researchers to undertake analyses that can provide robust evidence to inform solutions to improve population wellbeing. The resource becomes more powerful over time as new information about the children and their families is added. The longitudinal nature of the information collected from the same children and families makes it particularly useful in looking at how experiences in early life can influence later outcomes, as well as understanding what works to improve wellbeing for our current generation of New Zealand children.

The longitudinal information collected is currently being utilised by researchers, politicians, policy makers, charities, health boards and educational organisations to help inform strategies that are population relevant.


Ways to use Growing Up in New Zealand data

Growing Up in New Zealand currently offers three different ways of utilising the longitudinal information. For researchers who are external to the Growing Up in New Zealand project team. These are:

  1. Commissioning tailored/bespoke reports using the expertise of the Growing Up in New Zealand team at the University of Auckland

  2. Accessing the anonymised external data sets for independent research.

Importantly ALL access to Growing Up in New Zealand data is strictly controlled by a Data Access Protocol and a Data Access Committee with responsibility for ensuring the privacy and confidentiality of all individual participants and the sustainability of the cohort.

Please refer to the DAC Application Process Table for an overview of data access criteria.


Data currently available

  • Antenatal Data Sets (DCW0)
    Incorporates data from the antenatal data collection point (face-to-face interview with pregnant mother and her partner
  • 9-month data sets (DCW1)
    Incorporates data from the following collection points:
    • perinatal (data linkage),
    • 6 week (phone call),
    • 35 week (phone call) and
    • 9-month (face-to-face interview with child’s mother and her partner)
  • 2-year data sets (DCW2)
    Incorporates data from the following collection points:
    • 12-month (data linkage),
    • 16-month (phone call),
    • 23-month (phone call) and
    • 2-year (face-to-face interview with child’s mother; direct observations and developmental and anthropometric assessments of the child)
  • Pre-school data sets (DCW3-5)
    Incorporates data from the following collection points:
    • 31-month (phone call),
    • 45-month (phone call) and
    • 54-month (face-to-face interview with child’s mother; direct observations and developmental and anthropometric assessments of the child)


  • Transition to school data set (DCW6)
    Incorporates data from the following collection points:
    • 72-month (online questionnaire)

Strengths of the Growing Up in New Zealand datasets

  • The study has successfully recruited a cohort of nearly 7000 families who are broadly generalisable in terms of diversity of ethnicity, and markers of socio-economic status to families having children in New Zealand today.
  • The study participants were recruited in pregnancy and we have interviewed mothers and partners independently about their children at each visit.
  • The study measures aspects the contemporary New Zealand environment (physical, social, cultural, policy etc) important in shaping the developmental trajectories of current New Zealand children.
  • The study has adequate explanatory power to consider most outcomes for children who identify as Māori Pacific and Asian as well as for NZ European children. It is also able to consider development associated with identifying with more than one ethnicity.
  • The initial data collections for the study has collected detailed information about development and the environment throughout the critical first 1000 days of life (from pregnancy to age two years).
  • The integration of the key domains of the study into each data collection wave follows a rigorous and defined process to ensure that the most relevant data is collected at each time point.
  • Linkage to routine data has been undertaken to add value to the longitudinal self-reported data with appropriate participant informed consent.
  • Partnerships with policy-makers have been developed from the outset of the study. Consultation has occurred at every stage of the project to ensure the collection of evidence will have policy relevance and utility.
  • A robust Data Access Policy has been in place from the beginning of the study to enable the information to be used widely while protecting the sustainability of the study and the anonymity of participants.
  • All data collections, study conduct and data use is subject to ethical approval by the Northern Y Ethics Committee.