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Pathways to Youth Resilience Study – Whaia To Huanui Kia Toa

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Nau Mai Haere Mai – Welcome- Talofa – Bula -Marhaba – Nín hâo


What is the research about?

This is a long-term study (8 years) looking at how young people in Aotearoa-New Zealand do in their lives and how things turn out for them.  It aims to better understand what helps them thrive and survive and to learn about what types of experiences hold them back

The research is ecological – it looks at young people’s whole environments.  It explores how they see themselves, their relationships with their friends and family/whanau, how they experience their communities, what services they have used and what that’s been like for them.  It has a particular focus on young people facing significant risks or who are vulnerable.


This research is interested in young people’s resilience – by ‘resilience’ we mean:
…how people respond to difficult times. When we study it, we are looking for the ranges of strategies and resources people use to help them cope with hard times. This includes all their relationships, the resources they have to help, the services that they can use to support them, the way in which their communities or culture support them as well as their own inner strengths and abilities. In this study we are interested in looking at how all of these things work together to help young people respond well to challenges.

The research is linked into an international study focusing on young people’s pathways to resilience.  This work is based in Canada and is being led by the Resilience Research Centre, directed by Professor Michael Ungar of Dalhousie University.


Who’s involved?

The research is being led by Professor Robyn Munford and Dr. Jackie Sanders from Massey University in Palmerston North.

While the research is based at Massey University, we are also working with four sites, including: 
o    Palmerston North (Massey University): Professor Robyn Munford, Dr. Jackie Sanders
o    Auckland (Youthline): Amber Davies and Jayne Lowry
o    Wellington (Victoria University): Dr Jackie Cumming, Sue Buckley, Nicola Grace and Dr. Megan Pledger.
o    Dunedin (Donald Beasley Institute and Otago University): Dr. Brigit Mirfin-Veitch, Kelly Takao and Professor Mark Henaghan.

Each site includes co-ordinated work with a variety of youth focused government and non-government organisations. So far the project is working with different services and organisations to find young people who are willing to be involved.  The number of organisations involved in the project will increase as the research progresses.

Over 1000 young people aged between 13-17 years old will be involved! 480 of these young people will be those who are using two or more services, including Child Youth and Family Services (care and protection and youth justice), youth court, mental health, and a range of specialised education services.

When working with young people who are using, or have used two or more services we ask them to nominate adults they trust or those that are closest to them (these are called a ‘PMK’ – a Person Most Knowledgeable).  480 of these people will also be contacted and invited to be involved in the research.

We have a Youth Advisory Group (YAG) – facilitated through Youthline Auckland – who offer on-going advice as the project progresses.



How does the research work?

It is a longitudinal study that runs for 8 years and it has 4 phases:
o    Part 1: Interview with the young person and someone they nominate that knows them best (PMK)
o    Part 2: Semi-structured interview with the young people and with nominated PMK
o    Part 3: Focus groups with sector representatives, young people and parents, and file reviews
o    Part 4: Tracing the pathways of young people over time.

-    We are currently in Part 1!




Come to this section for monthly up-dates on the research.  We will have regular up-dates from August 2009!

For the first update, click here!

For the September update, click here!

For the School report update, click  here!

For the December update, click  here!

For the September 2010 update, click  here!

For the November 2010 update, click  here!  

 Final Youth Justice and Education Report



If you’re interested in the Pathways to Youth Resilience Study please contact: Robyn Munford at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Jackie Sanders This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it