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 (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

  • Hobbs MR, Grant CC, Ritchie SR, Chelimo C, Morton SMB, Berry S, Thomas MG. Antibiotic consumption by New Zealand children: exposure near-universal by the age of five years. Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy published online: doi: 10.1093/jac/dkx060
  • Underwood L, Waldie KE, Peterson E, D’Souza S, Verbiest M, McDaid F, Morton S. (2017) Paternal depression symptoms during pregnancy and after childbirth among participants in the Growing Up in New Zealand study. JAMA Psychiatry 74(4): 1-10. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2016.4234
  • TinTin S, Woodward, A, Saraf R, Berry S, Atatoa Carr, P, Morton SMB, Grant CC. (2016). Internal living environment and respiratory disease in children: findings from the Growing Up in New Zealand longitudinal child cohort study. Environmental Health 15:120. doi: 10.1186/s12940-016-0207-z
  • Underwood L, Waldie KE, D’Souza S, Peterson ER, Morton SMB (2016). A Longitudinal Study of Pre-pregnancy and Pregnancy Risk Factors Associated with Antenatal and Postnatal Symptoms of Depression: Evidence from Growing Up in New Zealand. Maternal and Child Health Journal. online article. doi: 10.1007/s10995-016-2191-x
  • Bird AL, Carr PEA, Reese E, Morton SMB (2016). Policy translation for early childhood education and care: the Growing Up in New Zealand approach. International Journal of Child Care and Education Policy 10(1):5. doi: 10.1186/s40723-016-0021-7

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