Engaging All New Zealanders – 2022 survey report

Published: February 28, 2023

Engaging All New Zealanders surveys provide insights on how the country’s attitudes towards the care and wellbeing of children and young people are changing.


The 2022 Children in New Zealand Communities survey provides information about the attitudes and behaviours of the New Zealand public towards children and young people ‘at risk’ of not thriving. ​

The nationwide survey of residents aged 18 years and over was completed by 1,597 people between 17 February and 25 April 2022.

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.

Key findings

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. 

Next steps

The 2022 survey results will contribute to ongoing strategic communications work.