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Seeking views and ideas

Following an initial scoping process, we've now completed a public engagement and feedback process.

We've heard from individuals and groups from a range of different backgrounds and experiences, including representatives from community groups, NGO’s and central and local government, as well as members of the public.

In particular, we made a real effort to hear from children and young people, Māori and iwi groups, and those whose voices are less often heard.

Engagement process

Our engagement involved a range of approaches, including face-to-face meetings, workshops and focus groups, as well as a public submission process, online surveys and postcards.

We asked people to:

  • describe what child and youth wellbeing means to them
  • share ideas for improving the wellbeing of children and young people
  • describe how we can work better (individually and collectively) to enable every child to thrive
  • share their feedback on an initial Outcomes Framework, which included the Strategy's proposed vision statement, key principles, and the outcomes that should be sought for all children and young people.
  • See the Proposed Outcomes Framework and potential focus areas (PDF, 789 KB)

The rich feedback, outlined below, builds on insights from previous research and engagement and is helping to shape the direction and content of the first Strategy, due to be published later this year.

What we heard

With the support of partner agencies, we've engaged with and/or received feedback from more than 10,000 New Zealanders, including 6,000 children and young people. 

Overall, there’s enormous support for a Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy, with people expressing high hopes and expectation that something real and tangible will come from it.

The ‘Have your say’ summary report of the wider public engagement outlines what we heard and identifies the following key insights.

  • Change is needed, and it’s needed now. They are high hopes that something real and tangible will come from the Strategy. There is also a sense of urgency to make some changes quickly.
  • The Strategy needs to be bigger than the government of the day. People want to see action on some of the major systemic issues that have typically been considered “too hard” or “too big” to address.
  • Local communities are integral to the success of the Strategy. The Strategy needs to empower communities and give them the tools to make the changes that work for them.
  • The Strategy needs to have a focus on family and whānau wellbeing. The wellbeing of the family is essential to the wellbeing of the child, and we need to provide parents, families and whānau with the right kind of support at the right time.
  • Te Tiriti o Waitangi should be a clear and empowering dimension of the Strategy. We heard that the Treaty and unique relationship of the Crown to tamariki and rangatahi Māori needs to be woven throughout the Strategy. We also heard we need to trust Māori to know and to deliver what works for Māori.
  • The Strategy needs to focus on reducing inequity.  People talked about inequity of outcomes for different groups and recognised that improving their wellbeing would require much more effort and focus. This included addressing institutional racism and discrimination.
  • A good life is more than the bare basics. The children and young people we spoke with recognised their need for basic things, but were also hopeful that their future would include more than that. A minimum standard of living is not enough.
  • Children and young people have a right to be included in the decision making process.  There was a lot of advocacy for the inclusion and consideration of children and young people’s voice in the Strategy and in any decisions that impacts on them more widely.
  • Invest in ensuring all kids get a great education. Quality education is key to future opportunities. Schools can have a major impact on children and young people’s wellbeing, for better or for worse.
  • Focus on early intervention and specifically the first 1000 days. We need to provide services to children and young people before they reach crisis point. People also support a preventative approach, improving the journey both for the child and for their whānau in those very early years, including before birth.
  • Government, agencies, and community services need to work together better.  There was acknowledgement that some new initiatives will be needed, but that a lot can be achieved if government agencies and community services were able to communicate and collaborate more effectively.

Read the full ‘Have your Say: Summary report’ which outlines findings from the full engagement process

Download the report Summary Report – National engagement on New Zealand’s first Child Youth and Wellbeing Strategy (PDF, 3.44 MB)

Children and young people’s voices

In addition to the ‘Have your say’ full summary report, there is a standalone report which outlines the engagement with children and young people. The ‘What makes a good life?’ summary report was recently released by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner and Oranga Tamariki, who we commissioned to lead the engagement with children and young people.  The findings of this report are incorporated into the ‘Have your Say’ summary report

Read the ‘What makes a good life?’ summary report 

Have your say

While the initial phase of seeking submissions and public feedback is now complete, this is just the start of the conversation. We want to keep hearing from people as this work progresses.

You can share your views and ideas by contacting us on


Last updated: 
Friday, 7 June 2019

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