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Kiwis More Hopeful Than Aussies - New Study

Kiwis are feeling more hopeful than Australians when it comes to Covid-19, new research has shown.

A study published today by the Wilberforce Foundation found that while nine out of 10 New Zealanders feel uncertain about the future, overall they are more hopeful than their Australian counterparts.

The study of 1,002 New Zealanders explores attitudes, beliefs and values in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. It was conducted in the last week of lockdown at Level Four.

A similar Australian study conducted in March 2020 identified the number one emotion for Australians was anxiety at 45 per cent, with hope trailing in fifth position at 27 per cent.

In contrast, New Zealand’s study showed only 39 per cent of Kiwis are anxious with 45 per cent feeling hopeful.

The older population was identified as the most hopeful - with 52 per cent of those aged 75 and over feeling hopeful about the situation, with only 33 per cent of 18 to 25 year olds feeling hopeful.

Chris Clarke, Executive Director of Global Local and Advisor to the Wilberforce Foundation, said what stands out is the ‘Kiwi spirit’.

“Two out of three New Zealanders identified the sense of pulling together for the greater good, and kindness and friendship as examples of the Kiwi spirit in action during the pandemic.”

However just over half of Kiwis (53 per cent) want to see a return to normal life, Clarke said.

“This suggests that many New Zealanders accept that life in our country will be very different and a ‘new normal’ to the one we knew just a few months ago. There lies the challenge for political, business, community and spiritual leaders.”

When asked about which leaders had inspired them during the pandemic, 72 per cent of New Zealanders indicated the Prime Minister, 53 per cent identified health experts and officials, and 26 per cent the police.

Of those surveyed, 75 per cent said they had spent more time reflecting during lockdown, while more than one in three New Zealanders spent more time praying. The study found most New Zealanders agree that the church has a valuable role to play in supporting the vulnerable, helping build local community and working alongside other faith traditions.

The study also highlighted marked differences between the generations - particularly for younger New Zealanders, aged 18 – 25 years, who are typically feeling more frustrated (42 per cent), anxious (39 per cent) and overwhelmed (39 per cent) when compared to older generations.

Younger generations also appear to have struggled the most with the effects of lockdown with 70 per cent of 18 - 25 year olds agreeing they found it difficult to stay mentally healthy compared to only 13 per cent of those aged 75+.

The Wilberforce Foundation intends to undertake two further snapshot surveys in the coming months.

Statistics at a glance:

  • 1,002 Kiwis surveyed during level four
  • 52 per cent of those aged 75+ felt hopeful during lockdown in comparison to only 33 per cent those aged 18 to 25.
  • 72 per cent of Kiwis were inspired by the Prime Minister.
  • 42 per cent of young New Zealanders (18-25 years) were frustrated by lockdown, while 39 per cent were anxious.
  • 61 per cent indicated a sense of achievement, along with 50 per cent indicating the Kiwi sense of humour were values they have seen at this time.

For further information see www.covid19valuesstudy.nz



The survey was conducted between 22- 28 April, 2020. At the time, New Zealanders were aware they were moving to Level Three (announced 20 April) but were still in Level Four until 27 April. The insights are based on an online survey of 1,002 NZers, nationally representative by age, gender and region. The sample size (n=1,002) provides a 95 per cent confidence interval and a 4 per cent margin of error.

The Generational Insights are based on the following age brackets:

  • Generation Z: aged 18 – 25
  • Generation Y: aged 26-40
  • Generation X: aged 41-55
  • Baby Boomers: aged 56-74
  • Builders: aged 75+


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