AUT - Ackland University of Technology

04/15/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/14/2024 17:53

NZ kids love arts, culture, recreation

NZ kids love arts, culture, recreation

15 Apr, 2024

A report by AUT lecturer Dr Rebecca Evans has found more than 90 percent of 12-year-olds are highly engaged with the arts, culture and recreation.

Commissioned by Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage, the report looked at data from a diverse cohort of 4500 12-year-olds, which was captured through the Growing Up in New Zealand longitudinal study.

It found that more than 90 percent of 12-year-olds regularly - at least once a week - took part in activities like listening to music, active play, household chores, and spending time outdoors.

"The report sheds light on some of the things that we've anecdotally known about Kiwi kids for some time," Dr Evans says.

"For example, sport was the extracurricular activity category with the highest level of participation, with 88 percent of 12-year-olds regularly doing sports activities outside of school.

"Listening to music was the activity young people most frequently did in their free time. Over half of all participants listened to music daily or more.

"Reading was also popular, with approximately three out of four young people reading books at least once a week," she says.

Dr Evans says she was also able to look at the characteristics (whether that be of the child, household, or neighbourhood) that could enable children to have greater access, and what barriers for participation exist.

Speaking to RNZ Culture 101 presenter Perlina Lau, she said the study cohort was diverse in terms of both ethnicity and socioeconomic background.

"When we examined participation by different groups, we found sporting participation was higher for cisgender boys and for those with little material hardship."

Dr Evans says that participation in many activities was higher for young people living with extended family members, including aunts, uncles and grandparents.

The researchers also asked young people whether there were activities that they missed out on, and what were the reasons behind this.

"The most common response was that they didn't have enough time," Dr Evans says.

"This could be due to the high demands we place on our young people in terms of homework, or because of responsibilities at home with housework or looking after younger siblings and others in the home."

More generally, she says participation in extra-curricular activities varied by ethnicity, gender, disability, material hardship, household structure, and rurality.

More than 6000 New Zealand children and their families are part of Growing Up in New Zealand - this country's largest contemporary longitudinal study of child development.

The University of Auckland study has been following the lives of these children since 2009 and 2010 - before they were born.

This has been the first time the study has focused on arts, culture, and recreation activities participation in-depth.

Dr Evans says she hopes the report reflects the importance of providing access to these activities across New Zealand.

About Dr Rebecca Evans

Dr Rebecca Evans joined Te Ipukarea Research Institute at AUT in 2024. She is also an affiliated Postdoctoral Researcher at The Music Lab, which is based jointly at the University of Auckland and Yale University. Prior to joining AUT, Dr Evans was a Research Fellow with the longitudinal cohort study Growing Up in New Zealand, responsible for the Family & Whānau domain. Her current research explores music, arts and creative engagement amongst tamariki and rangatahi in relation to health and wellbeing outcomes, including kapa haka involvement, whanaungatanga (relationships), and music's role in developing and strengthening social bonds.

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