A long-running study into what it's like to grow up in 21st century New Zealand is receiving a funding boost to take it to its next stage.

Growing Up in New Zealand launched 10 years ago, when the study started following a group of children born in 2008 and 2009.

The Government-funded study intended to follow 6800 families until the children reached the age of 21 but in 2016 National announced funding would be cut, making it difficult for the study to continue effectively.

This morning, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced $1.9 million of funding would be injected back into the study to ensure the current round of data collection could go ahead.


Sepuloni said the funding boost came at a critical point in the progression of the study - as those running the study began to hear from the children themselves.

"Obviously as a Government we have some commitments, one being to address child poverty...but we don't want to put limitations on the children's stories and experiences, I think some of the insights will be unexpected."

Growing Up in New Zealand director, Dr Susan Morton, said by relying on the children's wisdom the study would determine how best to engage with the younger generation.

"It's their experiences and stories that will help us understand why some of our teenagers are over burdened with mental health issues and why some of our teenagers are inspirational in the face of hardship."

Morton said the study would continue to work with the Government so it can perform better policy and find resolution to some of the country's most entrenched problems.

"Data has already been used by multiple government agencies..we've worked with Social Development, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Justice, Inland Revenue and we are also working with lots of non-government agencies as well," Morton said.

Mother-of-two Nicolette Rata spoke, on behalf of the families involved, about why the study was important to them.

Mother-of-two Nicolette Rata speaks on behalf of the families taking part of in the Growing Up in New Zealand study.
Mother-of-two Nicolette Rata speaks on behalf of the families taking part of in the Growing Up in New Zealand study.

"We are not from the US, we are not from the UK and information gathered in New Zealand is really important.


"We have really unique factors in New Zealand and all the families that have participated in Growing Up in New Zealand did that because we want the absolute best for all our New Zealand children."

Around 2000 child interviews had been carried out to date. The new funding would allow interviews to continue through the rest of 2018.

"This Government wants New Zealand to be the best place in the world to be a child," Sepuloni said.

"Hearing the voice of children will be a powerful contribution to government policy makers and service providers understanding of how to best meet the needs of diverse New Zealand families and children."

A data collection wave involved gathering information from the participant children as well as their families.

Questioning and data collection would look at the child's health and well-being, psychosocial development, education, culture and identity and societal context.

The mode of collection had so far ranged from face-to-face interviews, phone interviews and web-based interviews.

Findings from the study along with further research conducted from anonymised data helped guide services and support systems for Kiwi children.

Sepuloni said these services included parental leave, family housing and mobility.

The findings were also factored into the health and education services.

The next Growing Up in New Zealand report is due for release mid-way through this year.