Family Whānau and Wellbeing Project (FWWP)


This was a five-year research programme supported by the Social Science funding pool of the then Foundation for Research, Science and Technology. The principal goal was to develop ways to examine and monitor the social and economic determinants of family and whānau wellbeing, and how these changed over the 1981 to 2006 period. The principal units of investigation were the family and the household, and census microdata, via the governance of Statistics New Zealand, were used.

FWWP drew on approximately $135 million worth of data collection, and also addressed the issues of analysing census data over time, assessing compatibility of census data over the years, and then assessing trends observed 1981-2006. The project also explored the feasibility of monitoring the impact of social policy events on the population, or key population groups, providing an invaluable source of information for considering future public policy and simulating expected impacts on society.

A number of publications resulted directly from FWWP, and these have been added to in the years since, including the addition of 2013 Census data when that became available. Of course this has been on a smaller scale without the dedicated funding of the programme.

FWWP publications

  • Family Wellbeing Indicators from the 1981–2001 New Zealand Censuses
  • Monitoring the Impact of Social Policy, 1980–2001: Report on Significant Policy Events
  • Measuring changes in Family and Whanau Wellbeing using Census data, 1981–2006: a preliminary analysis
  • An examination of linkages between parental educational qualifications, family structure & family wellbeing, 1981–2006
  • A Guide to using data from the New Zealand Census: 1981–2006
  • Trends in Wellbeing for Māori families 1981–2006
  • Kiro C, von Randow M, Sporle A. Trends in Māori wellbeing: 1981–2006: A summary. New Zealand Sociology 26 (Special Issue), 68–75. 2011.
  • Crothers C, von Randow M, Cotterell G. Measuring changes in family wellbeing in New Zealand 1981 to 2006. New Zealand Sociology 28(3), 237–254. 2013.
  • von Randow M & Crothers C. Measuring changes in family wellbeing in New Zealand 1981 to 2013: An update. New Zealand Sociology 29(3), 30–37. 2014.