The University of Auckland
2 files

Now We Are 12: Young People’s Relationships at Twelve Years of Age. Snapshot 9

Young people’s relationships with their parents and primary caregivers remain foundational through middle childhood. In addition, supportive and caring relationships with peers and a variety of non-parental adults become increasingly important as young people mature. For many people in New Zealand, including Māori, Pacific, and Asian families, the concept of family or whānau itself encompasses a wider familial and non-familial system of connectedness. Therefore, the distinction between parent or primary caregiver and other important adults does not predominantly feature, and instead, a collective responsibility for children exists. Shared rights and responsibilities for raising children and young people means that there are a range of skills and resources available to the child, that are not necessarily present in a nuclear family context. Accounting for an array of relationships is therefore culturally relevant, particularly for Māori.

The Relationships report examines the networks of social and familial relationships of 12-year-olds in Aotearoa New Zealand who participate in Growing Up in New Zealand's birth cohort study. It investigates who these young people interact with and how they experience aspects of their relationships with them, including trust and communication. To gain a better understanding of how young people are supported through these networks, it is crucial to investigate their impact on the health and wellbeing outcomes of young individuals.

The supplementary document also included here contains a description of each of the parent, peer, and special adult relationship tools, and includes tables showing our analyses with respect to key demographic variables (gender, ethnicity, household structure and area level deprivation).


Crown funding managed by the Ministry of Social Development



Growing Up in New Zealand: University of Auckland

Spatial coverage

New Zealand

Temporal coverage: start


Temporal coverage: end


Data Collection Wave

DCW12 (12-years)