Research, findings and impact

Growing Up in New Zealand is designed to provide unique information about what shapes children’s early development in contemporary New Zealand and how interventions might be targeted at the earliest opportunity to give every child the best start in life.

Study reports and policy briefs

Cover of 'Now we are two' report

Study reports


Report 7. Growing Up in New Zealand: Now We Are Four - Describing the preschool years (May 2017).

Report 6. Growing Up in New Zealand: Vulnerability Report 2: Transitions in exposure to vulnerability in the first 1000 days of life (July 2015)
PDF | ebook

Report 5. Growing Up in New Zealand: Residential Mobility Report 1: Moving house in the first 1000 days (December 2014)
PDF | ebook

Report 4. Growing Up in New Zealand: Vulnerability Report 1: Exploring the Definition of Vulnerability for Children in their First 1000 Days (July 2014)
PDF | ebook

Report 3. Growing Up in New Zealand: Now We Are Two (June 2014)
PDF | ebook

Report 2. Growing Up in New Zealand: Now we are born (March 2012)
PDF | ebook

Report 1. Growing Up in New Zealand: Before we are born (November 2010)
PDF | ebook

Cover of 'Immunisation' policy brief

Policy briefs

Policy Brief 6: Who is saying what about immunisation: evidence from Growing Up in New Zealand

Policy Brief 5: The intergenerational use of te reo Māori: evidence from Growing Up in New Zealand

Policy Brief 4: Employment and parental leave around the time of birth: evidence from Growing Up in New Zealand

Policy Brief 3: Measuring the Economic Environment - What resources are available to children in their first 1000 days?

Policy Brief 2: Keeping our children injury-free - household safety evidence from Growing Up in New Zealand

Policy Brief 1: Nutrition and physical activity during pregnancy - evidence from Growing Up in New Zealand


Latest research publications

  • Gerritsen, S., Anderson, S., Morton, S., & Wall, C. (2018). Pre-school nutrition-related behaviours at home and early childhood education services: Findings from the Growing Up in New Zealand longitudinal study. Public Health Nutrition, 21(7) 1222-1231. doi:10.1017/S1368980017004116
  • Farewell CV, Thayer ZM, Puma JE, Morton S (2018). Exploring the timing and duration of maternal stress exposure: Impacts on early childhood BMI. Early Human Development 117, 15-18 doi: 10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2017.12.001
  • Corkin MT, Peterson ER, Andrejic N, Waldie KE, Reese E, Morton SMB (2017). Predictors of Mothers’ Self-Identified Challenges in Parenting Infants: Insights from a Large, Nationally Diverse Cohort. Journal of Child and Family Studies. 27: 653-670. DOI 10.1007/s10826-017-0903-5
  • Peterson ER, Andrejic N, Corkin MT, Waldie KE, Reese E, Morton SMB. (2017): I hardly see my baby: challenges and highlights of being a New Zealand working mother of an infant. Kōtuitui: New Zealand Journal of Social Sciences Online DOI:10.1080/1177083X.2017.1391852
  • Berry SD, Walker CG, Ly K, Snell RG, Atatoa Carr PE, Bandara D, Mohal J, Castro T, Marks E, Morton SMB, Grant CC. (2017) Widespread prevalence of a CREBRF variant amongst Māori and Pacific children is associated with weight and height in early childhood. International Journal of Obesity online doi: 10.1038/ijo.2017.230
  • Veerasingam P, Grant CC, Chelimo C, Philipson K, Gilchrist CA, Berry S, Atatoa Carr P, Camargo Jr CA, Morton S (2017). Vaccine education during pregnancy and timeliness of infant immunization. Pediatrics 140(3): e20163727 published online 18 August
  • Berry S, Atatoa Carr P, Kool B, Mohal J, Morton S, Grant C. (2017) Housing tenure as a focus for reducing inequalities in the home safety environment: evidence from Growing Up in New Zealand Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health online doi: 10.1111/1753-6405.12695

See the full list of research publications



Information we provide

A key aim of the study is to provide evidence to inform policy development, for example whether existing government policies are reaching the families they were designed for and, if so, what effect they are having. This can inform the development of new strategies better targeted to address entrenched problems.

Early information from Growing Up in New Zealand, collected in the first two years of the children’s lives, provides insight into areas like:

  • vulnerable children

  • diverse family structures and resources

  • general health and wellbeing, including immunisation, breastfeeding, nutrition, physical activity and poor early health

  • interaction with health and other key services

  • family housing and mobility

  • detailed measures of the home environment including language, literacy and school readiness

  • paid parental leave and maternal return to the workforce

  • child care

  • engagement with early childhood education.

We publish our findings regularly in the form of reports, scientific articles, working papers and policy bulletins.

Download our study reports

10 things we now know

Covers of various Growing Up in New Zealand publications
  • Nearly half our children identify with more than one ethnic group.

  • Children up to two years of age are spending more and more time with digital media such as computers, laptops, CDs, iPods and MP3 players.

  • Income drops for many families during and immediately after pregnancy, meaning there is no surplus money for things like a home deposit.

  • Unplanned pregnancies account for 40% of births.

  • Lack of choice in housing affects areas ranging from pre-school attendance through to continuity of healthcare and community belonging.

  • Almost all the children completed their Well Child/Tamariki Ora health checks in their first nine months.

  • By the time they were six weeks old, 75% had been to Plunket.

  • One in three (30%) of children live in a house where their mother and another adult smokes.

  • Nearly all (95%) children had their 15-month immunisations but this was lowest for the most vulnerable families.

  • A quarter of our children are growing up in extended family situations.

Find more key findings from our reports