Growing Up in New Zealand's questionnaires for rangatahi available in te reo

Maori family

Growing Up in New Zealand is offering participants the opportunity to complete their questionnaires in te reo for the first time. 

The most comprehensive collection of data ever-conducted with intermediate-aged children in this country launches this month, with questionnaires in te reo for the first time.

This country’s largest longitudinal study of child development, Growing Up in New Zealand, is beginning its 12 year Kōrero/Interviews with more than 6,000 12-year-olds and their whānau.  

Never before have so many pre-teens in Aotearoa been canvassed about their lives, their interests and their experiences, including their response to Covid-19 lockdowns.

Around 1,000 of the rangatahi involved are Māori, and for the first time Growing Up in New Zealand is providing information in te reo and giving tamariki the opportunity to do questionnaires in te reo. 

Growing Up in New Zealand joint Māori theme lead, Executive Director of Research and Innovation at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, Professor Te Kani Kingi (Ngāti Pukeko/Ngāti Awa) says te reo is the first language for a number of children in the study.

“We’re thrilled to be able to engage in whakawhanaunatanga with tamariki and whānau by providing information in te reo and giving them the chance to share their information in their first language.  

“We also have a team of te reo speakers on board to carry out interviews with Māori whānau and to help tamariki with their questionnaires.  It’s an exciting step forward for the study,” he says.  

Kanoa MacFie is a 12-year-old Growing Up in New Zealand participant, who is a fluent te reo speaker and is pleased the study is offering tamariki the opportunity to respond in te reo. 

“I have been in Māori immersion my whole life and I prefer to speak te reo and learn stuff about my culture.  It’s been fun and good journey so it’s awesome to have these questionnaires offered in te reo,” he says. 

His dad, Pat MacFie agrees: “We appreciate any engagement in te reo because it is just so natural for Kanoa,” he says. 

Mr MacFie says the whānau see Growing Up in New Zealand as providing an important insight into life for tamariki Māori. 

“We were really keen for Kanoa’s story to contribute to this longitudinal picture of New Zealand children and we’re really hopeful that the study can offer genuine insight into the reality of the challenges that many young people face, particularly Māori and Pasifika young people,” he says.

Growing Up in New Zealand joint Māori theme lead Dr Sarah-Jane Paine (Tūhoe) says the study delivers valuable information about tamariki Māori and their whānau, including the use of te reo.

“The information we gather from our rangatahi will be enormously valuable in providing a better understanding of what life is like for pre-teens so that decision-makers can tailor policies and services to best meet the needs of our tamariki and rangatahi to allow them all to flourish,” she says.

Dr Paine says one of the core strengths of the study is the sheer size of the ethnically and socioeconomically diverse cohort and its ability to reflect the lived experience of so many children. 

She says for this reason it’s vital that as many Māori whānau as possible to take part in the 12 year Kōrero/Interviews.  

Dr Paine is urging families who may have been part of the study in the past to get in touch. 

“Many families may remember being part of Growing Up in New Zealand, but may have lost touch with us over the years.  Our message to them is – don’t wait for us to contact you, reach out for a kōrero with us now!  

“We know that many of our families have moved house or changed phone number and it’s possible we may not have up-to-date contact details for some families so I’d urge whānau to call or email us so that we can get in touch and ensure that their voices contribute to this valuable taonga,” she says. 

The 12 year Kōrero/Interviews will initially be conducted online only due to the current Covid-19 lockdown restrictions and will involve video calls and the delivery of more than 15,000 digital questionnaires to children and caregivers.

Face-to-face observations, measurements and other activities will hopefully take place at a later date when it is safe to do so. 

The 12 year Kōrero/Interviews will run for around nine-months and the information gathered will be released in a report called “Now We Are 12” in 2023. 

Growing Up in New Zealand participants are encouraged to get in touch to update their contact details so that the study can organise a video call or home visit.  To do this, participants should: