Engaging All New Zealanders survey report - Children in New Zealand Communities 2022

Engaging All New Zealanders survey report - Childr…
28 Feb 2023


The survey helps to improve Oranga Tamariki understanding of New Zealanders’ beliefs, opinions, attitudes and behaviours regarding child and youth vulnerability, by:

  • measuring public awareness of child wellbeing and vulnerability
  • measuring public attitudes towards the causes and implications of child vulnerability​
  • measuring who is perceived to be responsible for the wellbeing of children and young people, and ​
  • telling us more about supportive attitudes and behaviours.

The Children in New Zealand Communities survey aims to:

  • Measure and understand public awareness of the current state of child wellbeing in New Zealand (i.e., do people think there is a problem or not?)
  • Measure public awareness of what child and youth vulnerability (and wellbeing) looks like
  • Measure public attitudes and understanding around the causes and implications of child vulnerability
  • Understand and measure who is perceived to be responsible for the wellbeing of children and young people
  • Identify barriers and motivations to acting
  • Understand how widespread action-taking behaviours are to support wellbeing and/or prevent vulnerability.


The 2022 survey reported here follows two previous surveys, one in 2017 and the other in 2019, and the formative research undertaken in March 2017 by EY Sweeney.

The findings in this report were weighted to the total New Zealand population according to region, age, gender and ethnicity using 2018 Census data.

Response rate
Overall response rate (main approach): 16.0%.
Māori response rate (main approach): 18.7%.

Margin of error
Margin of error: Total sample: ±2.5%; Māori: ± 4.0%; Pacific: ± 6.7%.

In some cases, total percentages may not add up exactly to the individual response categories due to rounding.

All subgroup differences mentioned in this report are statistically significant at the 95% confidence level. This means there is a 95% chance the difference is a true difference in the population and not due to random sampling variation.
When subgroup differences are mentioned, the results discussed are always in comparison with the overall/total result (that is, all those who answered the question) unless stated otherwise.

Sub-groups considered in analysis include ethnicity, gender, age, New Zealand Deprivation Index, and proximity to (contact with) ‘atrisk’ families/children. There is overlap between various demographic factors. For example, some ethnic groups are more likely to live in larger households. Therefore, it is not always possible to be definitive about whether a difference in attitude relates more to cultural factors or to other factors such as deprivation or household composition.

Key survey definitions

Any key group that a child or young person is involved with and has something in common with (e.g. neighbourhood where they live, church community, sports community, a marae, an online community)

A person who is a child’s mother or father, or acts as the child’s mother or father (this includes foster parents, permanent caregivers).

Children and young people
These terms were respondent-defined. Oranga Tamaki considers young people to be all those up to and including age 24 years old.

Vulnerable children
The concept of vulnerability was positioned in the questionnaire as ‘at risk' of not thriving.

Complete questionnaire
Complete questionnaires were those where respondents completed questions up to and including Q21 (Q31) (ethnicity).

Proximity to ‘at-risk’ families or children
Those who answered a lot, some, or a little when asked at Q13.

Key Results

A focus of the report was to consider whether, and to what extent, understanding and attitudes have changed since the last survey in 2019.

Important contextual considerations to keep in mind since the 2019 survey are the impacts of:

  • the COVID-19 pandemic, and
  • the increased cost of living.

What has changed between 2019 and 2022?

Around a third of New Zealanders think the country is doing a worse job at caring for children: This could reflect real trends in childcare, or publicity and awareness of social issues regarding the care of children may have heightened people’s consciousness. 

An increase in the prominence of the cost of living and mental health issues as contributors to vulnerability: However, the three most prominent issues (poverty, poor parenting/home environment, and education) remain the same as in 2019. 

More people consider connections to be important in helping children and young people to thrive: In 2022, more identify strong connections to community, strong connections to culture or heritage and being involved in enjoyable things as very/extremely important for children and young people to thrive. However, these continue to be seen as secondary to other factors, like having basic needs met, being loved and having a safe, stable home environment. 

A strengthening of the concept of shared responsibility: In 2022, there were increases relating to the responsibility for caring for children; namely numbers who felt that:

  • parents should take full responsibility and not depend on others 
  • government should take more responsibility
  • we share a measure of personal responsibility for children we don’t know. 
Page last modified: 11 Oct 2023