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A window into the lives and wishes of young New Zealanders

13/09/ 2016

For immediate release

New report provides window into the lives and wishes of young New Zealanders

Save the Children NZ and UNICEF NZ are excited to launch the report Our Voices Our Rights - a report written and produced by young people that shares the hopes, concerns and ideas of children/tamariki across the country.

Over the last year Youth Ambassadors from Save the Children NZ and UNICEF NZ have been collating the views of young people. The aim is to ensure that young people’s opinions inform the United Nations’ review of New Zealand’s implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

The New Zealand government ratified the CRC in 1993 and is obliged to report on progress made for children every 5 years. The report “Our Voices Our Rights” has been submitted to the UN Committee that will review New Zealand’s compliance with CRC.

UNICEF youth ambassador Ethyn Sturm says “children recognise that they have rights“.

The report identifies a number of issues that young people would like to see action on, including:

• Child poverty and the effects this is having on children/ tamariki; their well-being, mental and physical health, and lack of opportunity and support.

• Education; ensuring children/tamariki who need it are supported to achieve and have the same opportunities as children/tamariki in wealthier schools.

• Health; access to healthcare. There is particular concern about the state of mental health amongst Aotearoa NZ children/ tamariki and a lack of access to support.

• Ending bullying; whether it be in schools, online or digital, or any other place it may be happening.

• Safety and protection; ending all violence against children/tamariki, including within their homes.

• Tolerance and acceptance of all diversity across Aotearoa NZ.

“Because of their age a lot of people write off children as immature, but they don’t think about what they have experienced”, says Save the Children youth ambassador Amandie Weerasundara.

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Heather Hayden, Chief Executive of Save the Children NZ says “Save the Children and UNICEF are globally ambitious in our goals for children and young people, but we know that meaningful change only comes from having everyone around the table, most importantly children and young people themselves. That is why this report is so important – written and produced by Aotearoa New Zealand young people”.

“As work progresses on the implementation of the Convention we would like to see young people more involved in the process. The report is a powerful reminder that not only do children/tamariki have clear views on what is important to them, but their ideas and insights offer a way forward” says Vivien Maidaborn, Executive Director of UNICEF NZ.

The New Zealand delegation to the Geneva meeting will be headed by Minister Anne Tolley. The examination of New Zealand’s compliance with the CRC will take place on the 15 and 16 September. Our Voices. Our Rights will be shared with the government, decision makers, influencers and the public to promote and improve the wellbeing of children here in New Zealand. A parliamentary event is planned for 13 October.

More information and a copy of the report can be found at


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