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 find practical, evidence-based solutions that make a measurable difference for tamariki.

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.


three children and women splashing in water

A Better Start article published: supporting the future wellbeing of our tamariki E tipu, e rea, mō ngā rā o tō ao: grow tender shoot for the days destined for you

CLICK HERE to read more and see the authors of the article

While the individual article has been formally published online, the Special Issue: The current and future state of child health and wellbeing in Aotearoa New Zealand: Part 2 is yet to be published. 

ABSTRACT:  The majority of children and young people in Aotearoa New Zealand experience good health and wellbeing, but there are key areas where they compare unfavourably to those in other rich countries. However, current measures of wellbeing are critically limited in their suitability to reflect the dynamic, culture-bound, and subjective nature of the concept of ‘wellbeing’. In particular, there is a lack of measurement in primary school-aged children and in ways that incorporate Māori perspectives on wellbeing. A Better Start National Science Challenge work in the areas of Big Data, Healthy Weight, Resilient Teens, and Successful learning demonstrates how research is increasing our understanding of, and our ability to enhance, wellbeing for NZ children. As we look ahead to the future, opportunities to support the wellbeing of NZ young people will be shaped by how we embrace and mitigate against potential harms of new technologies, and our ability to respond to new challenges that arise due to climate change. In order to avoid increasing inequity in who experiences wellbeing in NZ, wellbeing must be monitored in ways that are culturally acceptable, universal, and recognise what makes children flourish.


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

The Science

Collaborative research and science excellence. Learn about our key research themes


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

Building health, well being and learning success for tamariki and rangatahi

A new 22 month project has been launched called, Whiriwhiria, kia ora ai te tamaiti: Building health, wellbeing and learning success for tamariki and rangatahi through and Māturangi Māori and systems science approach is to evaluate, integrate and reorient systems, learning and movement initiatives in Hawke’s Bay. 

A Better Start has funded the project that will be managed by Eastern Institute of Technology and Te Pūkenga, co-led by Professor Boyd Swinburn (pictured below left) and Professor David Tipene-Leach.

The three research objectives are:
1.  To evaluate the effectiveness of current food, learning and movement initiatives in Hawke’s Bay with particular regard to outcomes for tamariki Māori;
2.  To explore how Māaurangi Māori can inform the development of a comprehensive systems dynamics science approach and reorient food systems in Hawke’s Bay;
3.  To create an indigenous informed and inspired food systems approach to improve health, wellbeing, resilience and educational out comes for tamariki, rangatahi and whānau.

Researchers hope this will provide an exemplar of success for integrating strategies to improve healthy weight, learning and movement outcomes within a high need area and one that can demonstration for other regions across the country.

News and Events

Cure Kids’ third State of Child Health Report spotlights urgent health priorities for our tamariki and rangatahi

Cure Kids’ third State of Child Health Report spotlights urgent health priorities for our tamariki and rangatahi

A Better Start's National Science Challenge Board Co-Chair, Dr Pat Tuohy attended this important event, in show of A Better Starts support of the work that Cure Kids has done in putting together this in-depth report which highlights the work that needs to be done...

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Q&A with Dr Nick Bowden

Q&A with Dr Nick Bowden

Nick leads the big data analysis of 'resilient teen' outcomes and is part of the ‘Big Data’ team at A Better Start National Science Challenge. Nick is a Research Fellow at the Department of Women’s and Children’s Health within the Dunedin School of Medicine at the...

read more

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

The meaning behind, 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.

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