Bullying, racism among challenges for kids

Some young New Zealanders still face significant challenges. Photo: Getty
Some young New Zealanders still face significant challenges. Photo: Getty
A new report has found that the majority of Kiwi kids are flourishing, but some still face significant challenges.

As part of "What Makes A Good Life?", more than 6000 young people described their experiences growing up in New Zealand.

More than 90 percent of respondents said they lived in a warm dry home and more than 70 percent said they felt respected and valued.

A further 70 percent said they felt safe online, while 63 percent said they could cope when life got hard.

But others noted that racism, bullying, violence and drugs were prevalent themes in their lives.

One rangatahi from Auckland recalled how people at their school often joked about Māori prison and drug rates.

This was echoed by another respondent who said Māori were often the target of negative and harmful stereotypes.

"Crackheads, drug dealers, crime, Black Power, domestic violence, hood rats, window washers, pōhara, hori, gangs, alcoholic parents."

Young people in state care reported dealing with similar problems.

One 16-year-old girl spoke of how she had been stigmatised at school because of her situation.

"Something I always have to deal with at school is the stigma. When people find out you're a foster kid they're like 'oh you're an orphan, whose house did you burn down."

Those under the Youth Justice System said they felt they had been "written off" by the adults in their lives.

Personal finances were also a strong talking point - with respondents noting that while money wasn't everything, it was a necessary part of life.

One young person from Dunedin said a good life to them looked like "having enough for the basics, plus a little bit more".

Young women in particular mentioned how the price of products like pads and tampons could sometimes prove too high.

Last year, a survey of 5000 women by the charity KidsCan found that nearly a third of respondents struggled with period poverty.

Deputy chief executive and tamariki advocate at Oranga Tamariki, Hoani Lambert, said the report showed the government needs to focus on building better relationships with young people.

"They didn't ask for another service ... what they did ask for were adults who would listen, who would see them as whole individuals who would ask them questions about their views," he said.

"And for us to take in regard their opinions when we're developing policy as a government."

Add a Comment

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter