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What Makes a Good Life?
26 February 2019
We have asked children and young people for their views on what wellbeing means to them. We heard from more than 6,000 children and young people about what a good life is and what they thought were the most important areas to focus on to make things better for all children and young people.
New Zealand should be a place where all children and young people are able to develop and flourish. From what we heard, a significant number of children and young people face challenges. Children and young people have valuable ideas based on their everyday experiences and hopes for the future. We undertook this work so that their views can inform the Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy, designed to drive government action on child wellbeing, but could also be used to inform practitioners and communities who want to make a difference for children and young people.
“Having a good life isn't necessarily about the materialistic things. I think having strong friendships/relationships with people who genuinely care about you contributes better to a good life.” Rangatahi from Taumarunui
From what children and young people told us, we identified four key insights about what a good life means, and what we could focus on to improve wellbeing for all children and young people:
1. Change is needed
The majority of children and young people are doing well, but some are facing significant challenges. Almost everyone who shared their views could point to something that needed to change if all children and young people are to have a good life.
2. Family and whānau are crucial
We heard that in order for children to be well, their families must be well and involved in making things better.
3. Providing the basics is important, but not enough on its own
Children and young people want more than just a minimum standard of living. Things such as feeling accepted, valued and respected are just as important.
4. Children and young people have valuable insights
Listening to children and young people’s views regularly and meaningfully is the best way to respond to their needs, wants and aspirations. We have heard that efforts to support children and young people need to focus on more than just what services are needed. Support systems need to accept children and young people for who they are, respect their critical relationships and support the people they care about to also be well.
Children and young people have told us that they want the basics, plus a little bit more. We think they all deserve a lot more.
Download the full report below.