A project under the auspices of the nation-wide National Science Challenges (Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, 2014).
Significant health, education and social disparities persist in New Zealand and, as in other societies, indigenous and minority populations are the most affected. In addressing these disparities and ensuring equitable outcomes for all New Zealanders an important first step is to provide “a better start” to life. “E Tipu e Rea”, which translates as “Grow ye, o seed, and fulfil your potential”, was penned by Sir Apirana Ngata, a revered Māori leader (Member of Parliament 1905-1943). The importance of early childhood, in particular, is reinforced by the recent analysis of adult health outcomes from early intervention. The challenge is to use science to improve the potential of young New Zealanders to have a healthy and successful life with a focus on altering trajectories early in life and at adolescence, to bring together already developed expertise in New Zealand, and to explore, understand and use the new digital world we live in to create better outcomes.
The framework set for the Challenge requires developing a science plan around three broad themes: 1. Maternal health, pregnancy and early childhood; 2. Successful transition into adulthood; and 3. Education: Living in a Digital world