Growing Up in New Zealand gets $6.4 million boost

01 May 2013

A long-term study on the health and wellbeing of New Zealand children now has $6.4 million government funding confirmed for the next two years.

The funding was approved by the Government from its ‘Vote Social Development’ fund.

Growing Up in New Zealand is led by Associate Professor Susan Morton at The University of Auckland’s School of Population and Health. The study recruited pregnant mothers in 2009 and 2010, to track the development of nearly 7000 children from before their birth through to young adulthood.

The research team has collected four sets of data during the children’s first two years of life and is about to embark on a new round of pre-school interviews with parents, carers and the children themselves.

The Growing Up in New Zealand study was initiated by a group of 16 government agencies, led by the Ministry of Social Development. The study research team worked in partnership with these agencies to plan and implement the study over the last five years.

Each set of data gathered from the study has been designed to provide scientifically robust information that will help shape future government policies and strategies for children and families.

“The study was set up this way, in collaboration with government agencies, because they were crying out for this type of information about contemporary New Zealand children and their families,” says Dr Morton. “We have been able to start providing this key information and hope to build on this significantly.”

In November 2012 an international independent review of Growing Up in New Zealand was commissioned by the government to determine the value of the study to New Zealand.

“The international review panel recognised that the study has tremendous value to New Zealand. After this in depth analysis it is fantastic to have this external validation of the work we are doing.” says Dr Morton.

“The University of Auckland has given us unwavering support throughout this study,” she continued, “and it provides an important home for the study with its range of experts, and connections to other institutions and colleagues, both nationally and internationally.”

This year, the lead agency managing the Growing Up in New Zealand partnerships with multiple government agencies will move to the newly established Social Policy Evaluation Research Unit at the Families Commission. This arrangement will continue to assist in the delivery of valuable research data to help inform and strengthen the development of policies and strategies to benefit the health and wellbeing of the people of New Zealand.

As the study grows older and follows the children at its core, there is great anticipation for a productive and valuable future.

For more information on the Growing Up in New Zealand study go to

For more information contact;

Associate Professor Susan Morton Director, Centre for Longitudinal Research - He Ara ki Mua Research Director, Growing Up in New Zealand University of Auckland Tamaki Campus | Bldg 730.312 T 09 373 7599 ext 89268 | M 021 829323 |