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Children to say what it is like to grow up in NZ

Children to say what it is like to grow up in New Zealand

On Friday 4 April 2008, the University of Auckland launches New Zealand’s largest research project to follow a group of children from before their births until they reach adulthood.

Growing Up in New Zealand will follow the lives of 7,800 children born in the Auckland, Counties-Manukau and Waikato district health board areas in 2008 - 09.

Launched by the Minister for Social Development, Ruth Dyson, Growing Up in New Zealand builds on the internationally respected Christchurch and Dunedin longitudinal studies begun in the 1970s, and will provide a wealth of contemporary information about New Zealand children’s lives, needs, experiences and aspirations.

The goal is for the government and other agencies to use the research results to develop evidence-based policies that help improve the lives of children.

Apart from the scale of the project, Growing Up in New Zealand has a number of other notable firsts. It is the first New Zealand longitudinal study to:
- begin research about each child before the child’s birth
- interview the child’s father (or mother’s partner) before the child’s birth
- cover New Zealand’s full ethnic diversity, by involving Maori, Pasifika, Asian and Pakeha/ European children and their families.

The Growing Up team will recruit a leading light group of 200 pregnant women in late 2008. Then a further 7,600 expectant mothers will be recruited from 1 February – 30 September 2009, with expected due dates between Anzac Day and Christmas Day 2009.

To take part in the project, women will need to be 28 to 35 weeks pregnant and live in Auckland (excluding North Shore City and Waitakere), Counties-Manukau, Thames-Coromandel, Waikato or the King Country.

The women can be any age, of any ethnic background, be expecting a single or multiple birth, be in a relationship or single, and have conceived naturally or using assisted reproductive techniques.

The first preliminary research results are expected to be released in 2011.

Dr Susan Morton of the University of Auckland’s School of Population Health and the Liggins Institute leads Growing Up in New Zealand. The Growing Up consortium also includes researchers from the University of Otago, Victoria University of Wellington and Massey University.


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