Children participating in educational activities and learning about their rights

Our Work in Aotearoa

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A brighter future for tamariki 

Not all tamariki get to experience the amazing things Aotearoa has to offer. 

It’s a great place to grow up, but child poverty, limited access to education and healthcare, and the effects of climate change are hitting our most vulnerable children hard.

Putting kids first, is at the core of what we do at UNICEF. That’s why we’re working with community groups, businesses and schools to raise awareness about Child Rights in New Zealand.  

UNICEF Aotearoa is collaborating with iwi, hapū, whānau and hapori Māori, advocating to protect our kids while providing a space for their voices to be heard.  

Together, let's empower tamariki and rangatahi voices, igniting change for a better Aotearoa! 

Child Rights Education

Students taking part in a workshop to better understand every child's 42 fundamental rights

Did you know that each and every child has 42 fundamental rights? 

These rights include a safe and warm home, nutritious food, quality education, and a fair justice system. They apply to every child, regardless of their ethnicity, gender, or religion.  

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child outlines these rights for kids aged zero to 18 years, recognising the responsibility of caregivers and communities to protect these rights. 

New Zealand is a proud signatory of the Convention that has sparked some serious transformations around the globe. Governments have been motivated to revamp their laws, policies, and even invest more to ensure that kids receive proper healthcare and nutrition for their growth and survival. 

Raising Awareness

We’re committed to empowering tamariki to become champions of their own rights!

Education is a key starting point, so we’ve developed a range of teaching resources and toolkits that are available via our Resource Hub.

These resources have been translated into Te Reo Māori, Samoan, and Tongan.

Kid reading UNICEF child rights resource called Know Your Rights

Over the next four years, our goal is to reach over 300,000 children, teachers, and parents, along with 500 schools, with educational resources that help rangatahi in New Zealand understand and advocate for their rights.

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Making a difference

Giving every child the best start
Giving every child the best start

All kids deserve a fair beginning in life.

We want to ensure all children in New Zealand have access to the support, resources, and opportunities they need to be happy and succeed.

Kiwi Kid taking part in child rights activity with UNICEF
Supporting kids in crisis

Climate change is a pressing issue affecting children everywhere.

We advocate for decision-makers to address the challenges faced by kids impacted by climate-related disasters and environmental changes.

Maori students standing outside wharenui
Upholding indigenous rights

By celebrating and respecting their cultures, traditions, and identities, including honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi, we're creating a brighter future for indigenous communities in Aotearoa.

We’ve co-developed a strengths-based model of wellbeing for Māori in collaboration with 600 Māori that attended hui across the country.

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Advocating for kids

Educating kids about their rights gives them the power to influence the issues that matter most to them.

We advocate for policies that align with child rights and give rangatahi opportunities for their voices to be heard. 

Empowering Communities

To make a real difference for tamariki in Aotearoa, we believe in the power of partnerships.

We create meaningful change together by collaborating with community groups, NGOs, businesses, and advocating to local and central government.

Here's how we put it into action:

Building Strategic Partnerships
UNICEF is part of the Children’s Convention Monitoring Group - Photo of kids smiling

We work with organisations in the child rights sector to strengthen our impact and achieve greater outcomes for tamariki in Aotearoa.

We support NGO’s and the community sector to make a positive difference in the lives of local kids by providing support and resources. 

We’re a member of the Children’s Convention Monitoring Group that holds Government to account for implementing the Convention as well Ara Taiohi, the peak body for youth development in NZ. 

Co-designing with Iwi and Pasifika

We kōrerorero with Iwi and Pasifika communities and support them in achieving fair outcomes. Through respectful and inclusive engagement, we hope to enhance the mana of these communities. 

We commissioned an engagement strategy with Oranui and mapped out a unique framework that highlights what our tamariki are capable of when given the right support.

It emphasises the importance of karakia (spiritual understanding), whakawhanaungatanga (supportive relationships) and wehi (acknowledging achievement milestones). 

UNICEF Aotearoa kōrerorero with Iwi and Pasifika communities and support them in achieving fair outcomes
Watch Axel, Hawaki and Te Waipuna performing the Haka 'Ka Mate':

'Ka Mate' is a haka, originally composed by Te Rauparaha, a Chief of Ngāti Toa Rangatira.
We acknowledge Ngāti Toa Rangatira as the kaitiaki of their taonga 'Ka Mate'.

Maximising Impact

We're upholding the rights of children by working at policy and systems levels.

By acknowledging the root causes of issues we’re creating a future where children's rights are embedded in laws, regulations, and practices. 

UNICEF's Innocenti research centre provides us with worldwide expertise in policy development. We’ll combine our global knowledge with local experience and work with iwi to include mātauranga Māori in our advocacy efforts.

Through our policy work, we can create lasting change for generations to come and build a society where child rights are fully respected and defended! 

UNICEF's Innocenti research centre provides worldwide expertise in policy development
UNICEF supports child rights in Aotearoa through our advocacy work

Strengthening Research

UNICEF's global network allows us to support child rights in Aotearoa. By utilising annual Innocenti reports about the state of the world’s children, we can strengthen our local advocacy efforts!

Children in Aotearoa 

We engage and assess the situation of Kiwi kids and identify priorities that guide our local advocacy work, addressing the specific needs and challenges faced by children in New Zealand. We reference reports from other child rights advocacy organisations especially where they include child or youth voice, and work with our amazing Young Ambassadors.  

UNICEF advocates locally for child rights in Aotearoa