News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


Symposium focuses on giving our tamariki a better start

Media Release
Tuesday 21 May, 2019

Better Together 2019 symposium focuses on ways to give our tamariki a better start in life

Our Aotearoa New Zealand tamariki are facing an increasing number of serious health and wellbeing issues from the day they are born. A Better Start National Science Challenge is working to ensure that young New Zealanders have a healthy weight, are confident at reading and learning, and addressing mental health problems in children and teenagers.

Last year A Better Start National Science Challenge secured $20.5m funding to continue for the next 5 years, which recognised the creativity and innovation shown by the Challenge researchers. The findings of the first phase of the Challenge will be shared at the annual He waka eke noa Better Together Symposium on Friday 24 May, 2019 at the Kelliher Estate, Mangere, Auckland.

• How do we achive our goal for all New Zealand children to have a healthy weight?
• How do we provide Māori and Pacific students, schools and communitites with advice to maintain good mental health?
• What can we do to ensure that children reach their learning and literacy milestones?

These questions and more will be discussed at the symposium, by multi-disciplinary teams of researchers, who will explain why starting early is the best way to respond to the health and wellbeing challenges that we have in New Zealand; why working with Māori and Pacific students, schools and communities to offer young people and their families easier access to advice is vital to maintain good mental health; and how we aim to ensure that children reach their first important learning milestones, such as becoming a confident reader.

“I am delighted that our symposium is being opened by the Hon Jenny Salesa, who has Associate Minister responsibilities for Education, Health, Housing and Urban Development,” says Professor Wayne Cutfield, A Better Start National Science Challenge Director.

“The synergy that Minister Salesa will bring to the symposium opening address through her portfolio responsibilities are very closely aligned with the Challenge’s mission and our focus on improving the potential of our tamariki to lead healthy and successful lives, and we look forward to hosting her,” he says.

The symposium will outline the excellent progress that the Challenge has made over the past 5 years in the three themes of the Challenge – Healthy Weight, Resilient Teens and Successful Learning – underpinned by the big data theme.

Hoani Lambert, Deputy Chief Executive, Orangi Tamariki, Ministry for Children, is the keynote speaker and will be speaking about his views on joining up the three ministries for child wellbeing - Oranga Tamariki, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Eduation.

“More than 160 researchers are engaged with A Better Start and we are looking forward to a dynamic symposium as our research teams tell us what works in the real world to ensure that all our tamariki have the best start in life,” says Professor Cutfield.

A highlight of the symposium programme is a session on healthy weight and obesity prevention for children and adolescents for a project led by Professor Boyd Swinburn from the University of Auckland. This session will include a fun, novel, presentation group of teenage students from the Ormiston Junior College Accelerator Programme, which aims to have a real impact on the health of their wider community. The students aged 13 – 15 have been learning STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and entrepreneurial skills to improve the health of their community, and ultimately improve the community around them.

At the end of the symposium there will be an International Expert Panel session about future science direction and how this will potentially impact on A Better Start National Science Challenge.

For more information about He waka eke noa Better Together 2019 and a copy of the programme please go to the website


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Facebook Announces New Changes: Combating Hate And Extremism

Some of these changes predate the tragic terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, but that attack, and the global response to it in the form of the Christchurch Call to Action, has strongly influenced the recent updates to our policies and their enforcement. More>>

Amazon Confirms: Lord Of The Rings Series To Shoot In NZ

Amazon Studios announced today that its series based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s iconic fantasy novels The Lord of the Rings will shoot in New Zealand. Pre-production has started, and production on the series will begin in Auckland in the coming months. More>>


Birds: Dunedin's Bells Ring As City Celebrates Its Albatross

The city's churches, schools and public buildings bells would chime in unison from 1pm, in what has been a long-standing tradition marking the return of the birds - and a farewell to this season's albatross chicks. More>>

Oscar Buzz: Waititi's Jojo Rabbit Wins People's Choice Award At Toronto

Taika Waititi's new film Jojo Rabbit has nabbed the coveted Grolsch People's Choice Award at the close of Toronto International Film Festival. More>>


Broken Estate: An Expat Expert Surveys Our Media

Melanie Bunce cut her teeth in journalism at the Otago Daily Times. Now she teaches and researches it at one of the UK’s most prestigious journalism schools and tracks the trends that shape the uncertain future of news... More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland