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

What Makes a Good Life?


Aotearoa New Zealand should be a place where all children and young people can flourish. But is it?

In late 2018 we worked with the Ministry for Children, Oranga Tamariki to survey children and young people about what made a good life for them.

All together we heard from more than 6,000 tamariki and rangatahi who told us what they thought were the most important areas to focus on to make things better.

In February 2019 we published an overview report: What Makes a Good Life? Since then, we’ve published shorter reports on life for young parents, and on children and young people in care.

The survey continues to provide valuable insights into life for young New Zealanders. We will continue to publish further insights into other groups of children and young people here in the future.

From what we have heard, a significant number of tamariki and rangatahi face challenges. They also have valuable ideas based on their everyday experiences and hopes for the future. When decision makers listen and act on their views, better policy is made. This is what this work is about.

We undertook this survey so that the views of tamariki and rangatahi can inform the Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy, which will drive government action on child wellbeing. But these insights could also be used to inform practitioners and communities who want to make a difference for young New Zealanders.

“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

Reports in the What Makes a Good Life series are available below:

What makes a Good Life – main report
What makes a Good Life – at a glance
What Makes a Good Life? Views of children and young people in care on wellbeing
What Makes a Good Life for Young Parents?
What makes a Good Life for Tamariki and Rangatahi Māori?

What makes a good life? Key Insights

Key insights

1. Change is needed
While most children and young people are doing well, some are facing significant challenges. They have lots of ideas about what needs to change to make life good.

2. Family and whānau are crucial
If children and young people are going to be well and happy 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 need to feel accepted, valued, and respected.

4. Children and young people have valuable insights
Listening to and acting on children and young people’s views is the best way to respond to their needs, wants and aspirations.

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.


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