In 2018, the government announced plans to develop a Child Wellbeing Strategy to make New Zealand the best place in the world to be a child.

While this is an admirable and excellent goal, we wondered what it would look like for Aotearoa New Zealand to be the best place in the world to be a tamaiti (child), a taiohi (young person), a pāke (adult) or a kaumātua (elder).

What if the goal was wellbeing for all?

Through this research we aimed to help answer at least part of that question by asking our taiohi (young people) about what youth wellbeing looks like in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Between 20 July and 7 August 2018, ActionStation gathered the views of more than 1,000 young people (aged 12 - 24) and a handful of youth workers and policy experts.

Here's what we learned

 The young people we spoke to want better, more accessible mental health services, education and support specifically for young people

The young people we spoke to want better, more accessible mental health services, education and support specifically for young people

 Young people we spoke to highlighted economic insecurity, unaffordable housing, student debt and insecure low paid work as significant contributors to their anxiety and stress. Many want a kinder, fairer economy and meaningful secure work

Young people we spoke to highlighted economic insecurity, unaffordable housing, student debt and insecure low paid work as significant contributors to their anxiety and stress. Many want a kinder, fairer economy and meaningful secure work

 Almost half of the young people we surveyed chose “body image” as one of their biggest concerns. We think this should concern us

Almost half of the young people we surveyed chose “body image” as one of their biggest concerns. We think this should concern us

 The young people we engaged want to see an end to oppression of all kinds - no more racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia or ableism

The young people we engaged want to see an end to oppression of all kinds - no more racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia or ableism

 The young people we spoke to value accessible and affordable education, but they worry they are not being equipped with the life skills and knowledge they need to be flourishing in the 21st century

The young people we spoke to value accessible and affordable education, but they worry they are not being equipped with the life skills and knowledge they need to be flourishing in the 21st century

 The young people we spoke with love Aotearoa New Zealand’s natural environment, and they’re worried we’re not doing enough to protect it or our planet

The young people we spoke with love Aotearoa New Zealand’s natural environment, and they’re worried we’re not doing enough to protect it or our planet

 Young people have grown up in the era of the individual, but the taiohi we spoke to carry an innate desire for community and communal spaces

Young people have grown up in the era of the individual, but the taiohi we spoke to carry an innate desire for community and communal spaces

 Young people need more great role models in their community, on TV and in positions of power and leadership

Young people need more great role models in their community, on TV and in positions of power and leadership

 Young people should be taught about how to go about making change in their community and country, and people in positions of power need to get better at listening and being responsive

Young people should be taught about how to go about making change in their community and country, and people in positions of power need to get better at listening and being responsive


Mō te oranga o ngā taiohi me ngā kaitiaki e mahi ana mō rātou
— For the wellbeing of young people and the people who support them

This research is intended to have multiple audiences: young people, the youth development sector, policy makers and philanthropic funders.

We hope it inspires everyone who reads it, as much as it has inspired us putting it together.