What comes to mind when you hear about, think about or talk about Kiwi kids?
Chances are it could be the 1990s advertising jingle for Sanitarium: ''Kiwi kids … are Weet-Bix kids . . .''
It was a catchy, memorable tune, promoting a good old stock-standard pantry staple, and the short snippet was packed full of visual goodness, too: positive, uplifting images of apparently typical, joyful, carefree Kiwi kids smiling, laughing and playing at the beach, in the park and in the pool, cooking at home with Mum, and all clearly fuelled by readily available, affordable, healthy, nutritious food.
While the afore-mentioned idyllic scenes are certainly played out in many homes across the country, an alarming number of Kiwi kids now live in poverty (reports have varied over the years between one in three children, one in four and one in five). These are children lacking the physical basics - namely regular and reliable food, warmth and shelter - and, because of that, likely the basics required for a rich and fulfilling emotional life, too: hope, security, opportunity.
After years of warnings, statistics, investigations, reports, hand-wringing, denials and political promises, is anything actually changing?
It doesn't feel like it. Last week alone, we covered three stories which contained more bleak analysis of the reality of life for many youngsters.
Ahead of its Red Shield Appeal this week, the Salvation Army said poverty levels were worse than in 2008 - during the global financial crisis - and 100,000 children were now living in severe poverty in what its head of welfare services Major Pam Waugh called a "national crisis". The army helps support 120,000 people, last year it saw 336 new families every week and now provides 63,000 food parcels per year - a number it says is rising all the time.
Meanwhile, a report by the Child and Youth Mortality Review Committee found children living in the most deprived areas of New Zealand were three times more likely to die in childhood or adolescence than those living in the least deprived areas. This was because children living in poverty might not have access to health services, could be hungry and under-nourished, and lived in cold, damp, crowded homes where infections spread more easily. The report found between 2002 and 2016, there were 1758 deaths to suicide, making it the leading cause of death in adolescents.
In all the statistics, Maori and Pacific children are worse off.
Far from "Godzone'' then, it appears New Zealand has become paradise lost for many Kiwi kids.
The United Nations has made several mentions of our child poverty problem. Last week we reported members of one of its human rights committees were again shocked about (among other things) our child poverty statistics and housing issues, which they thought were odds with those of a developed nation.
If the essence of the New Zealand dream starts with creating carefree childhood memories, as a nation we must do everything possible - whenever possible - to ensure families are able to provide the basics so all Kiwi kids have the chance to be created equal.
The very least many of us can do is to answer the Sallies' call for donations this week.