Growing Up in New Zealand (GUiNZ) is Aotearoa’s largest contemporary longitudinal study of child development. The study has followed a cohort of more than 6,000 children since just before they were born around 2009 or 2010. The purpose of regularly collecting this data is to gain policy-relevant evidence about what can work to support resilience and optimise child developmentt; in summary, what can be done to give kiwi kids the best start in life?
The latest GUiNZ report explores the children’s emerging sense of culture and identity, and how they connect with their families and the wider environment as they turn eight years old. This is the first GUiNZ report in which we are able to hear from the children themselves as they were interviewed directly to better understand their views, values and challenges.
Overall, the report shows that New Zealand eight-year-olds are mostly living busy, healthy, happy lives in supportive family environments and developing a growing sense of their own identity and autonomy, however obesity, body image, mental wellbeing and screen time are emerging issues.