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.

What we ask children about...

WellbeingEducation | Culture and identity | Children in poverty | Care and protection/youth justice | Vulnerable children's issues | Other topics 


WellbeingReportCover2In 2018, we asked more than 6000 children and young people for their views on wellbeing. Their views will feed into the government's Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy. The report was done in collaboration with Oranga Tamariki with the support of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.  

What makes a good life? (2019)



OCC STA coverIn late 2017, we asked children and young people for their views on education to inform the National Statement of Education and Learning Priorities.

Education matters to me: Key insights

Detailed reports:

  1. Education matters to me: Experiences of tamariki and rangatahi Māori
  2. Education matters to me: Emotional wellbeing
  3. Education matters to me: Engagement
  4. Education matters to me:  ‘If I were the boss’ - improving our education
  5. Education matters to me: Progress and achievement
  6. Education matters to me: Transitions

Previous work on education

Culture and identity

Children in poverty

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”.

  • OCC7897 Lozenge designs 02af 16Our Views Matter: children and young people talk about solutions to child poverty (2012)
  • This Is How I See It: Children, young people and young adults’ views and experiences of poverty (2010) 

Care and protection/youth justice

kidsincare2We have a role to monitor Oranga Tamariki—Ministry for Children. 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 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”.

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:

Other topics 

How we consult with children

We engage with children and young people across Aotearoa through our Mai World: Child and Youth Voices work. We provide a platform for them to share their voice and have influence over national decision making.

We started this project in 2015 as a partnership with primary, intermediate and secondary schools and ropu from all over Aotearoa.

We typically use online surveys and focus groups to gather children and young people's opinions and expertise.

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 or community group would like to take part, or if you are interested in gathering views of children and young people via the Voices Project, please contact voices@occ.org.nz or sign up here

Mai World: Child and Youth Voices

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.