A Better Start: E Tipu e Rea

National Science Challenge

Better science together for a better start in life

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 they 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 achieve this by working with communities, drawing together indigenous and Western approaches to knowledge and bringing together the best researchers from different disciplines here and overseas to take a holistic approach rather than addressing health, wellbeing and learning issues in isolation.


Two-year project gets underway 

A Better Start National Science Challenge is funding a major research project aimed at the prevention of obesity, prediabetes and poor dental health among Pacific children.

The two-year project has been granted $1M in funding and will be led by Associate Professor Tupa’ilevaililigi Riz Firestone, a senior researcher at the Research Centre for Hauora and Health at Massey University. Associate Professor Firestone has also been appointed as A Better Start’s new Pasifika Strategy theme leader.

Read more about the new Pasifika child health project here.

From the Director 

A Better Start: E Tipu e Rea has more than 160 researchers delivering excellent science to give our tamariki a better start in life. They come from many different disciplines and organisations, but are united in their commitment. Our researchers share a collaborative approach and through the He Awa Whiria (braided rivers) model weave together knowledge from differing sources that flow together to progress the wellbeing of tamariki.

Ngā mihi,

Professor Wayne Cutfield
Challenge Director


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

The Science

Collaborative research and science excellence


Updates & events from A Better Start: E Tipu e Rea

News and events

Read our August update

Read our August update

Say hello to our August 2022 update. Read it HERE Find out about our new innovative sleep trial for babies; what teachers and schools think of our literacy programme which is being rolled out nationwide; watch our latest child health and wellbeing webinars; read our...

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Watch: Child oral health webinar

Watch: Child oral health webinar

WATCH THE WEBINAR HERE Discover the latest research in child oral health in this webinar hosted by A Better Start National Science Challenge and Whānau Āwhina Plunket. Children's oral health is a major issue in NZ, with nearly half of all five year olds showing tooth...

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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.