An educator’s reflections on “An Indian Father’s Plea” By Christoph Teschers

I came across this open letter a couple of year ago, and although it is dated and from another continent, it is a powerful text to help us reflect critically on cultural difference and diversity again and again. I still use this text in my teaching today and I re-read it occasionally as it becomes relevant in my courses around inclusive education.

Role sharing between stakeholders and evaluators by Sarah McKay

In my practice we are increasingly undertaking evaluations in which more of the evaluative activities are shared between the evaluator and stakeholders. The move towards Developmental Evaluation has influenced this, as it is a more flexible approach that includes key stakeholders throughout the evaluation such as involving them in choosing methods and co-analysis of data.


One of my favourite things about being a health promoter is being able to work with parents to find ways they can open or strengthen their communication with their young people. I’m always trying to find new techniques and skills that parents can take home to have a go starting conversations about health-related topics with their young people.

Assessment of children and young people using a strength-based tool. By Cathy Cooper

Psychometric assessment tests are structured and standardised measures of cognitive, behavioural or emotional functioning. They provide information that allows for inferences to be made about an individual based on comparison with a larger group of similar individuals who have also completed the same test (New Zealand Psychologists Board, 2015).

Exposure to sexual media content: What are the impacts for young people? By Louise Tapper

Any society is made up of different communities. One of the most influential communities for young people is the online world of social media.

Te Reo Māori gave me Hope. Brianna Age 17

Growing up, I always had one parent with me.

The Search for Identity of Muslim Immigrant Youth in New Zealand by Sharon Gardner

The events that took place in our city on the 15th of March affected so many young people in so many different ways.

Suicide reduction and forgiveness. By Michael Hempseed

When we think about suicide prevention, we think of crisis intervention, medication, counselling and reducing access to lethal means. Why don’t we think about forgiveness?

The Attitude Gap Challenge: A South Auckland Employment and Skills Challenge. By Jane Higgins

Why do many employers report that young people have a ‘poor attitude’ towards employment? Why do many young people become discouraged in the process of seeking work? The Attitude Gap Challenge is a 2016 research project that set out to understand the lack of connection between young people and local employers in South Auckland.

Turning up ACEs in Canterbury By Fi Rice

In a deck of cards there are four aces. Often they help you win. But over the course of a childhood four ACEs are not a winning hand. Instead, they may be a sentence of chronic disease, dysfunction and even early mortality. Of course these ACEs are not cards – they are Adverse Childhood Events.

Reflection on the Wellbeing and Public Policy Conference By Adelaide Reid

I recently attended the Wellbeing and Public Policy conference in Wellington. There were over 100 presentations on a wide range of approaches to wellbeing, including planning for wellbeing, wellbeing theory and measurement, children’s/youth wellbeing, cultural wellbeing and community wellbeing. We also heard from government ministers about their plans for wellbeing policy.

What is depression? By Dr Sue Bagshaw and Michael Hempseed

In the last few weeks, there has been a great deal of talk about “what is depression”. Many people think that depression is just an emotion, that is equal to anger, or opposite to happy. We don't call anger a mental illness, so why do we call feeling sad and down an illness?

Caregivers have hopes and dreams for their young people with FASD by Trish Jamieson

The month of September is Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) awareness month throughout the world. Recently in the media we have heard that up to 3,000 children are potentially born with FASD symptoms in New Zealand every year. FASD results from the unborn child being exposed to alcohol while in utero causing permanent damage to the Central Nervous System (CNS).

Considering youth participation in evaluation by Sarah McKay

In my work as a researcher and evaluator I am informed by positive youth development values such as youth participation. Participatory or empowerment evaluation seeks to actively include stakeholders such as young people in substantive ways in the evaluation process.

Building Trust With Children Who Have Experienced Developmental Trauma by Candace Bobier

I recently came across the special issue in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy from 2017: Relational Trauma and Family Therapy. Linda MacKay’s descriptions of the articles contained therein had me so enticed [1] I couldn’t decide which article to read first.

Supporting Transgender Students to Thrive in their Schooling by Cathy Cooper

School attendance is compulsory in Aotearoa New Zealand for all students aged six to sixteen years. Most children start school on their fifth birthday and many remain until the end of Year 13 when they tend to be aged seventeen or eighteen years (Ministry of Education, 2017).

Young People and Volunteering by Louise Tapper

I have been doing some research lately to help out a young person who is setting up a social enterprise. He is looking at ways of supporting small businesses to develop employee volunteering schemes. His aim is to match the businesses with not-for-profits so that a more personal, on-going connection is established between the employees and the community organisation.

Sleep and suicide by Michael Hempseed

Too often we exclusively talk about the link between depression and suicide. While there certainly is a link between depression and suicide there are many other factors that can contribute to suicidal ideation, such as feelings of hopelessness[1], personality disorders[2], trauma[3] and a same day crisis[4], such as a relationship breakup.

The Power Threat Meaning Framework By Anne Scott

In January this year, a new report was published online by the British Psychological Society which presents a radically new way to think about the diagnosis of functional mental illnesses, or mental illnesses which are not rooted in brain damage or neurological disorder.

The Use of Social Media - Dr Sue Bagshaw

There has been much discussion in recent times about the destructive effect of social media on the development of young people, especially under 15 year olds. This ranges from the dangers of pornography to the disappearance of the skills of non-verbal communication and the rise of social phobia.

Considering the Participation and Protection of Young People Taking Part in Research By Sarah McKay

The United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child recognises children and young people’s citizenship rights. This includes their right to participate in decisions that affect them, including in the development and evaluation of services for them. An ethical issue in research and evaluation that involves young people is enabling their participation in ways that ensures that they do not come

Raising Awareness of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) in New Zealand By Trish Jamieson

September 9th has been recognised as International FASD Awareness Day Awareness of FASD has been growing since the early 1990s in New Zealand (NZ). FASD is the result of permanent damage to the central nervous system (including the brain) to the unborn child, when a woman consumes alcohol during pregnancy.

Home Grown Research: Its Value and How to Know It's Good By Dr Jane Higgins

The word ‘research’ often conjures up images of overseas experts in academic institutions working with massive data sets and complex theories. While these sorts of studies often produce significant results that are valuable for creating evidence-based policy and practice, it’s important not to miss the great research, often small-scale, that’s done here in our corner of the world.

Creating Closer Communities By Brenna Russell

“Strong public awareness and participation in matters relating to mental health and well-being” and “increased community well-being” were two key outcomes outlined in the job description for the Community Connector for Rural Ashburton and Selwyn Districts. A role that I have now filled for just over a year.

Anne shares her thoughts on The Munro Review of Child Protection from the London Department for Education By Anne Scott

I wasn’t expecting to have much reading fun when I picked up this report, which is being cited internationally and has made a real splash; most reports are rather dry, and I was reading this one because it relates to the research we’re doing on child custody when parents have mental illnesses or addictions. However, I got a very pleasant surprise.

How common are common mental disorders? By Sofie Hampton

The Dunedin Study has had a considerable amount of media coverage in the last year, including a television series titled “Why am I ?”. This study is famous because it tracks the lives of just over 1,000 people born in Dunedin during 1972-1973, and it is still continuing 45 years later.

Collaboration between educators and industry to improve workplace learning By Adelaide Reid

Ako Aotearoa recently released a report on a National Project Fund project that they have been working on with Downer, Connexis and Primary ITO*. The project aimed to improve the outcomes and retention of apprentices at Downer through establishing mentoring relationships within the organisation.

A healthier world? Individual responsibility within a global initiative' By Anneke Beardsley

"I was interested to find out more about how youth had been involved in the process of establishing these goals, and I came across the article Facilitating health and wellbeing is “everybody’s role”: youth perspectives from Vanuatu on health and the post-2015 sustainable development goal agenda.

The government’s move towards purchasing outcomes: what are we losing? By Sarah McKay

Recent research by the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services outlines the added value that is provided by community based services. It highlights how community based organisations are becoming increasingly marginalized as the government moves towards funding social services through larger organisations and private providers.

Understanding “the alphabet children”: Supporting twice-exceptional learners. By Louise Tapper

Recently some education professionals have become more aware that there are students in our schools who are both highly able and still have learning or behavioural difficulties. They are twice-exceptional learners.

Growing up with a parent who has mental illness - By Kelly Pope

'Something that has struck me, three weeks into the job, is how many of the children and teens we get to spend time with are such bubbly, happy, easy going, well-rounded kids. This personal experience has stood out as a bright light against the backdrop of much of the research which takes a deficits approach to children whose parents have mental illness.

Gaming addiction; a lonely place - By Michael Hempseed

As a youth worker my role involves making an initial assessment then navigating a young person to the right service. I am having more and more trouble finding help for these young people.

Youth Participation in Service Development - By Melanie Atkinson

I want to discuss the idea of youth consultation and participation in relation to the establishment of a new service in Christchurch (Arahina ki Otautahi) for children and young people in the care of Child, Youth and Family who are not engaged in education or training.

Starting School in Shaky Town – the Canterbury earthquakes and their continued impact on children - by Fi Rice.

As a parent of a child born in September 2010 I am especially interested in emerging research around the effects of quakes on children. Many parents could easily assume that their very young children may not have been old enough to be aware of or affected by the events surrounding Canterbury’s recent natural disaster.

Advice for Parents on Suicide and Suicidal Behaviour in Young People: Like Searching for a Needle in a Hay Stack - by Sarah Wylie.

As the parent of teenagers, I had the experience several years ago of my son losing a close friend to suicide. For our family, this came out of the blue as our worst nightmare. Within the space of a few short hours we moved from travelling away on a weekend holiday to we, as parents, sitting outside an interview room at the Police station while our son was interviewed.

Why We Need to Move Towards Youth Centred Services - by Sarah McKay

The government has indicated that young people who are disengaged from education and employment will be an increasing priority for them. If they are serious about this they need to take a lead in policy and funding towards an approach that addresses the resources needed to provide holistic services that place the wellbeing of young people at the centre of the programmes that we provide for them

Te Kooti Rangatahi: The Way Forward For Maori Youth Offending by Cathy Cooper.

Te Kooti Rangatahi works within the contemporary legal context however is marae-based and utilises tikanga Maori. It is an option available to all Maori aged 14-16 years appearing in the regular Youth Court and allows those who admit the charges they are facing to have their court matters heard on the marae.

Research Reflection: Adolescents Crafting Identities After A Period Of Time Outside Education, Training And Employment. Jane Higgins.

Jane Higgins (PhD) has worked in youth transitions research since the early 1990s, most recently as a senior research fellow at Lincoln University. Read Jane's reflection on her own research (published in 2012- access the full report here) interviewing young people who had left school with low or no qualifications and how those young people actively crafted their identities as adolescents....

New means better and the latest research always trumps that old research… right? Andrew (Maps) Curtis

The view of addiction from Rat Park is that today’s flood of addiction is occurring because our fragmented, mobile, ever-changing modern society has produced social and cultural isolation, even though the cage is invisible.

Socioeconomic inequality and giftedness: Suppression and distortion of high ability. Louise Tapper

Children who lack resources such as education and good nutrition do not have the same lofty aspirations as children who are not deprived in this way. Ambrose describes this as “socioeconomic barriers to aspiration discovery and talent development"