Who are today's dads?

Growing Up in New Zealand has been awarded funds by the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment to explore the importance of fathers for children growing up in New Zealand today. The project aims to provide a unique and fuller understanding of the contribution fathers make to the health and wellbeing of contemporary New Zealand children. The data will be collected around the time their children start school.

Dad and his sone standing on the beach, looking towards Rangitoto Island

The Growing Up in New Zealand longitudinal study started before the birth of the enrolled children and this makes the study unique and crucial when understanding the factors that have come into play with respect to their fathers.

The participating families make up a diverse cultural and socio-economic cohort that is well aligned to all contemporary New Zealand births.

The Who are today's dads study will detail the role of fathers in their children’s lives, and determine how current and future policy can be developed to enhance the role that modern fathers can play to contribute to their children’s early development.

The information collected from the children's dads will help us to understand how child-father relationships have changed over time and whether there are critical periods when paternal influence has the greatest positive effect on a child’s early developmental pathways and later health and wellbeing. In particular, we will be looking at the contribution fathers make to the resilience, health and wellbeing of their children.

Key findings

image of report cover

The first report from the Who are today’s dads? study was released in September 2016. It provides an overview of more than 4,000 stepfathers, adoptive and foster parents, co-mums, grandparents and other family members who are “dads” to Growing Up in New Zealand children.

The report is a snapshot of the diversity of participants when the children are six years old and explores the roles and degrees of involvement they have in the children’s lives.

The report was accompanied by the release of Key findings on Dads and work focusing on participants’ employment, work-life balance, parenting roles and aspirations.

Further "key findings" were released in September 2017 focusing on Dads and health and Dads and mental health

The final report and other key findings will follow in 2017

Who are today's dads?
Study report (2.4 MB, PDF)
Key findings: Dads and work
(855.3 kB, PDF)

What are the next steps

The ‘Who are today’s dads?’ online questionnaire closed on 31 March 2016. A full report on our findings from this project will be released in late 2016.

We asked the dads questions that collect relevant and timely information on father-child interactions, such as how much time they spend together and what types of activities they share. Some questions addressed attitudes toward being a father, the sources of stress and support, and the sharing of tasks or roles within the family.

Information for dads

The 'Who are today's dads' online questionnaire is now closed. We would like to say 'Thank you' to the over 4000 dads who took the time to answer our questions.