A Better Start – a National Science Challenge

Better science together for a better start in life.

Our children are our future

We want to give them the best possible start in life.

Getting a good start includes being a healthy weight, learning successfully and being mentally well.

That’s what all families, whānau and communities want for their tamariki.

But obesity, learning and mental health are challenges for some children.

A Better Start is the National Science Challenge working to help them.

Our mission is to find better ways to predict, prevent and treat obesity, learning and mental health problems in children and teenagers.

Our job is to make science work for people.  

We believe we can do that only when we work with communities, and draw together indigenous and Western approaches to science.

E Tipu e Rea - Grow and Branch Forth 


Learn about A Better Start button

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Media releases

  • Innovative child health research fund launches
    01 February 2017
    A multi-million dollar funding pool to foster research that delivers tangible benefits to New Zealand children and their families was launched today.
  • Award for Challenge Board member
    22 December 2016
    Congratulations to A Better Start National Science Challenge Board member Associate Professor Papaarangi Reid who received the prestigious Dr Paratene Ngata Te Ngākau Ora Award at the Te ORA (Māori Medical Practitioners Association) hui held at the Papakura Marae recently.
  • Multi-million dollar funding collaboration to improve child health
    21 December 2016
    A Better Start, one of the country’s 11 National Science Challenges, and Cure Kids, New Zealand’s largest national child health research charity, have joined forces to create a new contestable fund in child health.

Upcoming events

Hosted by The Liggins Institute at the University of Auckland

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University of Canterbury logo
The University of Otago logo
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University of Waikato logo

Victoria University logo

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Funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

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Photo credits: Chris Williams, Sara Orme  (www.nzstory.govt.nz)