Te Atatū – Insights: What works in the first 1,000 days

Te Atatū – Insights: What works in the first 1,000…
01 Feb 2023


This insights paper provides the Social Wellbeing Agency’s reflections on how issues with the evidence base related to supporting whānau Māori in the first 1,000 days of a child’s life may impact on what services are available.


In 2021, the SWA commissioned research on what aspects of parental wellbeing have the biggest potential for improving the short and long-term wellbeing of children. This research has been published on our website (Academic Perspectives on Wellbeing), and helped provide some of the evidence base for the objectives of the first 1000 days work programme.

In 2022, the SWA commissioned research from the University of Waikato on what works to support child and whānau wellbeing in the first 1,000 days specifically from a Te Ao Māori perspective. The purpose of this research was to contribute to our shared knowledge base related to what works to support child wellbeing, and to support the first 1,000 days work programme.

The research team reviewed literature on Te Ao Māori perspectives on child wellbeing to assess the strength of existing evidence about what works to support whānau wellbeing in the first 1000 days, particularly whether that evidence reflected what works for Māori, and to identify evidence gaps.

Key Results

  • There is a shortage of evidence from a Te Ao Māori perspective, and existing evidence is often deficit framed.
  • Funding agencies privilege Western-style formal evaluations over other sources of evidence of success, which is likely leading to Māori-led programmes struggling to get sufficient or sustainable funding, and therefore not available for evaluation..
  • Gaps and issues in our evidence base matter: these may be compounding a shortage of effective Māori-led services related to the first 1,000 days.
Page last modified: 20 Nov 2023