We advocate for the interests, rights and wellbeing of children and young people

This section includes views and voices of children from our engagement with them. We include children's voices and perspective in our work, and help them to have a say on government policy and decisions.

We invite you to use this information in your work. If you re-use quotes, please reference the Office of the Children's Commissioner.

Current consultation with children

In November 2016 we submitted on the government's proposed Education Act (Update) Amendment Bill, including voices of young people who answered a survey. This is what kids say about education and achievement.

This Bill will create legislation that affects children's lives now, during their own childhoods, and for their futures.  Our submission states that taking children's views into account is absolutely necessary for these reforms.

Previous consultations with children

In July 2016, we asked children what they thought about riding bikes on the footpath.  They told us that a lot of children do this and they don't know it's illegal.  This informed our submission to the Transport and Infrastructure Select Committee (government) on a petition to allow children under 14, and other vulnerable footpath users, to ride their bikes legally on appropriate footpaths.

Other consultation topics have been:

Over the years we have consulted children on a number of issues that impact on them. Below are the broad subject areas and links to the results of these engagements with children and young people.


We have undertaken several consultations with children on their experiences of living in poverty and their views on solutions to child poverty.

Included in these are sub-topics of “housing”, “education”, “health”, “recreation activities”, “drugs and alcohol”, “parents and family”, “income and resources”, “community”.

  • Our Views Matter: children and young people talk about solutions to child poverty (2012)

OCC7897 Lozenge designs 02af 24OCC7897 Lozenge designs 02af 12OCC7897 Lozenge designs 02af 16OCC7897 Lozenge designs 02af 21OCC7897 Lozenge designs 02af 06OCC7897 Lozenge designs 02af 14

  • This Is How I See It: Children, young people and young adults’ views and experiences of poverty (2010)
  • Photovoice: telling stories of poverty via image, photos and written word (2010)


Care and Protection/Youth Justice

We have a role to monitor Child, Youth and Family. In doing this, we talk to children and young people in state care about their experiences, concerns, hopes and expectations.

Included in this feedback are sub-topics of “transitions from care”, “expectations”, “social worker”, “voice in decision-making”, “parents and family”, “advocates”.

The views from children and young people in care are included in:


Vulnerable children's issues

We have carried out consultations with children and young people around issues and solutions for vulnerable children, particularly around the release of the Government's Green Paper on Vulnerable Children in 2011. 

Included are sub-topics of “a good childhood”, “being fair”, “government’s role”, “drugs and alcohol”, “parents and family”, “schools”, “community”.

    • Green Paper consultation: We talked to 300 children and young people from around New Zealand to get their views on the Green Paper. We met with children and young people from eight Child, Youth and Family residences, four primary schools and a number of youth groups. Here is a visual summary of what they told us:




How we consult with children

The Children and Young People’s Voices Project will allow us to engage with a greater number and more diverse children.

We started this project in 2015 as a partnership with primary, intermediate and secondary schools from a diverse range of communities.

We typically use online surveys and focus groups to gather children's views.

We welcome others to contact us about collecting the views and voices of children and young people to inform their agencies’ policy work.

School participation

If your school would like to take part, or if you are interested in gathering views of children and young people via the Voices Project, please contact Kelsey Brown k.brown@occ.org.nz


How to use the children's voices from our site

We would like you to use children's voices from our site to advocate for things they like and need. 

If you use the child voices from these web pages, please acknowledge the source of the quote, e.g. Young Person's Advisory Group member, and the Office of the Children's Commissioner (if you are overseas, refer to New Zealand's Children's Commissioner).

We appreciate your respect for the voices of children and young people.