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Children in Aotearoa New Zealand 

Updated: 7 November 2014

There are roughly 1.2 million children in NZ (under 18 years of age). There are about 571,000 youths (18-24 years of age). New Zealand is an ageing society. As the population grows older, we will be more dependent on today’s children and young people to pay taxes and keep our economy going. In 2024, for the first time ever we’ll have more people over 65 than under 14 years of age.

New Zealand is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC). UNCROC is an international human rights treaty that sets out the basic rights of children and the obligations of governments to fulfill them.


There are large disparities in New Zealand’s child wellbeing statistics. Māori and Pasifika children are disproportionately affected by child poverty. Around 34% of Māori children and 28% of Pasifika children are living in poverty compared to 16% of Pākehā children (using an income based measure), and Māori and Pasifika children and those living in more deprived areas experience a disproportionate burden of morbidity and mortality.

More information 

Child Poverty Monitor – provides an over view of the situation of children in New Zealand.

Maori Narratives of Poverty - This report records the experiences of eight Māori whānau living in poverty and hardship.

Māori Affairs Select Committee Inquiry into the determinants of wellbeing for Maori children

This is home – an update on the state of Pasifika people in New Zealand

He Ara Hou: The Pathway Forward - explores the factors contributing to Māori and Pasifika child poverty.


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