New research on impacts of extreme weather events on young people

New research on impacts of extreme weather events on young people
August 1, 2023

A new project looking at how the severe weather that hit many parts of the North Island earlier this year has impacted the wellbeing of young people starts today.

The “Extreme Weather Survey” is being led by the Waipapa Taumata Rau University of Auckland’s Growing Up in New Zealand study, a longitudinal study that has been following the lives of more than 6000 children since 2009.

Around 1,400 young people in the study from the hardest hit regions during the 2023 Auckland Anniversary Weekend floods and Cyclone Gabrielle are being invited to take part in the online survey.

Growing Up in New Zealand’s Research Director Associate Professor Sarah-Jane Paine says the research will be used to inform future planning for extreme weather in Aotearoa New Zealand and is an important opportunity for young people and their families to have their voices and experiences heard.

“Research has shown that extreme events such as severe flooding and cyclones can take a greater toll on young people’s wellbeing, so this work is focused on understanding how young people managed through these events, and importantly how they are doing now,” said Assoc. Professor Paine.  

“This survey offers families in the Growing Up in New Zealand study the chance to let the Government and recovery agencies know how the flooding and cyclone that hit Aotearoa in January and February this year has affected them and what can be done to better prepare for these kinds of events in the future.”

The initiative is part of the Government's urgent research and science response to assess the impacts of these weather events.  The Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment is funding several projects, including the Extreme Weather Survey, to collect evidence to inform both the recovery efforts and future planning.

Assoc. Professor Paine says the survey will build on information the study has collected from families on wellbeing in previous years.

“Understanding what shapes and impacts wellbeing in young people is an area of focus for us at Growing Up in New Zealand. This project will allow us to compare wellbeing measures from before and after the extreme weather to find out how it has impacted them and identify ways in which the recovery efforts can provide the best support.”

“We will be asking questions about both their physical and mental health, as well as relationships with family and friends and impacts on their school, neighborhood and wider community.”

Assoc. Professor Paine says the Extreme Weather Survey will be open for the month of August, with findings expected to be published before the end of the year.


Saraid Black

Communications Manager, Growing Up in New Zealand

0274 732 211

Julia Crosfield 

Media and Communications, Growing Up in New Zealand 

027 282 489