Growing Up in New Zealand welcomes funding announcement

04 June 2019

Growing Up in New Zealand  warmly welcomes the Government’s announcement to allocate funding over the next three years to continue the country’s largest contemporary longitudinal study of child development. 

The Minister of Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni, says funding the study will help the Government design the best possible services and policies to increase the wellbeing of children and families. 

Growing Up in New Zealand will receive $17.1 million from Budget 19 for the next data collection wave and study Research Director, Professor Susan Morton, says the funding comes at a vital time.

“This funding boost will allow us to explore creative and innovative ways of connecting with the Growing Up in New Zealand children as they move into adolescence and develop their own identities, views and voices.

“This is crucial because this generation is different to any before it.  They are digital natives, they engage with the world in a different way and they are differently connected.  

“The Growing Up in New Zealand study will help us understand how the online world and new technologies have affected these children and how best to meet their needs as they navigate the complexities of 21st Century life,” Professor Morton says. 

More than 6,000 families are involved in the Growing Up in New Zealand study and the study cohort reflects the ethnic diversity and socio-economic make-up of New Zealand today. 

The study has carried out more than 90,000 interviews and collected more than 50 million pieces of data to-date, which can be used to inform Government policy to give children the best start in life. 

Professor Morton says it’s this wealth of data that provides such rich insights into what it means to be a child growing up in New Zealand today. 

 “This an exciting time in the study because we’ll be starting to understand how the children’s early life experiences may affect their lives as adolescents.  That’s the beauty of longitudinal information – it keeps growing in value.  

“Each data collection provides a snapshot of a point-in-time but when we piece all of this information together it gives us a unique insight into the developmental pathways of children and what provides the best foundation for a healthy and happy future,” Professor Morton says. 

Growing Up in New Zealand  has provided information to influence policy across a range of areas, including:

  • Paid parental leave 
  • Immunisation 
  • Poverty and material hardship
  • Family housing and residential mobility 
  • Household safety
  • Bullying
  • Participation in Early Childhood Education
  • Resilience in the face of adversity
  • Readiness for school
  • Pre- and post-natal depression among mothers and fathers.

Over the next year, Growing Up in New Zealand will work together with the Ministry of Social Development to continue to broaden the accessibility and use of the study data to a wide range of researchers and other users.  This will help realise the study’s full value and support context relevant policy to improve the lives of New Zealand children and families now and into the future.