A Better Start

National Science Challenge
Better science together for a better start in life

A Better Start is pleased to announce a new $4 million joint research funding round with Cure Kids to improve child health. We are seeking proposals for high quality translational research to improve child and youth wellbeing, specifically in the areas of healthy weight, early learning and mental health and resilience. Expressions Of Interest for A Better Start and Cure Kids Contestable Funding Round are now open. The deadline for applications is 17 February 2021 and the successful projects will be announced in July next year.

Our children are the future


Every child should have the best possible start in life. To achieve this A Better Start researchers are creating the tools and methods to predict, prevent and intervene early so children have a healthy weight, are successful learners and teenagers can access the tools they need to look after their mental health.

A Better Start is the National Science Challenge working to help children, teenagers, their whanau and family achieve the best possible start in life. Our job is to find practical, evidence-based solutions that make a measurable difference for tamariki.

We can do that only when we work with communities, draw together indigenous and Western approaches to knowledge and bring the best researchers from different disciplines here and overseas to take a holistic approach rather than address health, wellbeing and learning issues in isolation.


Improving the potential for all young New Zealanders to lead healthy and successful lives

The Science

Collaborative research and science excellence


Updates and events

News and events

E Tipu e Rea

Grow and Branch Forth 

E Tipu e Rea is A Better Start’s Māori name.

In 1949, shortly before his death, Māori leader and scholar Sir Āpirana Turupa Ngata of Ngāti Porou wrote into the autograph book of schoolgirl Rangi Bennett a passage about his vision for Māori youth.

E tipu e rea mō ngā rā o tō ao
Ko tō ringa ki ngā rākau a te Pākehā
Hei ora mō te tinana

Ko tō ngākau ki ngā tāonga a ō tīpuna Māori
Hei tikitiki mō tō māhuna
Ko tō wairua ki tō atua
Nānā nei ngā mea katoa.

Grow and branch forth for the days destined to you
Your hands to the tools of the Pākehā
For the welfare of your body

Your heart to the treasures of your ancestors
adornments for your brow
Your spirit to god
Who made all things.