Largest child development study offers questions in Te Reo

By Mare Haimona-Riki

The country's largest study of child development Growing up in New Zealand is continuing this year, with more than 6,000 rangatahi who are now 12 years old and their whānau being interviewed.

Around 1,000 of the rangatahi involved are Māori, and for the first time 'Growing up in New Zealand' is providing the questionnaires in Te Reo, much to the delight of Kanoa McFie, who is one of the 12-year-olds involved in the study.

“Māori is my first language, so I’m really stoked that I’m gonna be interviewed in Te Reo now,” he says.

Kanoa McFie (Waikato, Ngāi Tai)

The kōrero with these pre-teens will be about their lives, interests, experiences and their response to Covid-19.

The joint Māori theme lead for the study Dr Sarah-Jane Paine (Tūhoe) says the purpose of the study is to understand what it’s like to be a rangatahi Māori in 2021.  

“We want to know what’s important to rangatahi Māori, and what does happiness and wellness look like for them and how can we support them to achieve their goals.”

“Research like this is being used to shape policies and services so we can ensure that rangatahi can lead the lives that they’ve been aspiring to leave.”

In 2009, 10% of all births in the Waikato and Auckland regions agreed to be a part of the study but since then many participants have moved addresses.

“The last time we saw the rangatahi and their whanau, they were eight years old. And now they’re 12, so there’s a really good chance that people aren’t in the homes that they were in four months ago,” Paine says.        

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