About Ngā Tūtohu Aotearoa – Indicators Aotearoa New Zealand

About Us

Ngā Tūtohu Aotearoa – Indicators Aotearoa New Zealand contains wellbeing indicators that reflect an internationally growing vision to provide a more holistic view of wellbeing and sustainable development.

Central and local government, businesses, community organisations, and individuals can use the indicators to help make decisions around wellbeing and sustainable development for themselves, their whānau, their communities, and their country.

The main aims of Ngā Tūtohu Aotearoa – Indicators Aotearoa New Zealand are to:

  • enable all New Zealanders to see how we are progressing across the different aspects of wellbeing that are important to them
  • help government and non-government agencies focus on improving the wellbeing of current and future generations of New Zealanders living in Aotearoa New Zealand.

More than 100 wellbeing indicators, covering 22 topics, have been developed to measure important aspects of New Zealanders’ lives.


What are wellbeing indicators?

There are over 100 wellbeing indicators on this website. These indicators are collections of data and research that help us measure the state or condition of particular aspects of our wellbeing. ‘Wellbeing’ is a broad term that covers the conditions we experience in our general existence – both as individuals and as broader groups or communities. Wellbeing encompasses our health, happiness, success, and security.

Because wellbeing is multi-dimensional, it cannot easily be expressed in one measure. International best practice is to use a dashboard of measures. We suggest you take each indicator as a sign of progress in a specific area that contributes to our overall wellbeing.

You can search for particular indicators by name, or you can search by topic or dimension.

The topics and dimensions

To make it easier to find indicators, we have grouped them into 22 topics. 

The 22 topics sit under a number of broader dimensions of:

  • current wellbeing
  • future wellbeing
  • international impacts

A further six dimensions are from the Stats NZ statistical framework for Māori information needs; He Arotahi Tatauranga. The dimensions are:

  • te ao Māori
  • human resource potential
  • empowerment and enablement
  • economic self-determination
  • social capability
  • environmental sustainability

Finally, while not being wellbeing indicators themselves, we also have a number of contextual indicators to allow further understanding of wellbeing.

History of the wellbeing indicators

In early 2018, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the Government’s plan for New Zealand to become the first country in the world to embed wellbeing and sustainable development in its budget decision-making process, by using measures of social, cultural, and environmental progress. The recommendation in the Confidence and supply agreement between the New Zealand Labour Party and the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand that “a comprehensive set of environmental, social and economic sustainability indicators will be developed” was based on this approach. It was agreed that Stats NZ would be well placed to partner with The Treasury to develop this new approach to budget decision-making.

Initially, the framework chosen as a base for Ngā Tūtohu Aotearoa – Indicators Aotearoa New Zealand was the Conference of European Statisticians Recommendations on Measuring Sustainable Development (CES framework) as it aligns well with existing frameworks (both national and international) and the Sustainable Development Goals (see ‘The wellbeing indicators format’ below) and allows enough flexibility to adapt to specific New Zealand conditions.

 In mid-2018, Stats NZ set up a public consultation process to ask New Zealanders what was important to them. The results were used to inform the rest of the indicator selection process. See Indicators Aotearoa New Zealand – Ngā Tūtohu Aotearoa: Consultation.

Topic and data experts helped identify appropriate indicators at a series of technical workshops.

The development work stretched across central government as well. Stats NZ worked closely with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, The Treasury, and the Social Investment Agency to help develop Ngā Tūtohu Aotearoa – Indicators Aotearoa New Zealand. The Treasury is developing a Living Standards Framework, which recognises the human, social, natural, and financial/physical aspects of the things that affect wellbeing. Ngā Tūtohu Aotearoa aligns with this framework.

By early 2019, a comprehensive list of more than 100 indicators had been agreed on, and appropriate data sets were being collected from within Stats NZ, other government agencies, and non-government organisations, both here in New Zealand and overseas, including:

  • ACC
  • Earth System Research Laboratory and its Global Monitoring Division
  • Electoral Commission
  • Heritage New Zealand
  • Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation
  • Ministry for Primary Industries
  • Ministry for the Environment
  • Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
  • Ministry of Education
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • Ministry of Health
  • Ministry of Justice
  • Transparency International.

As the project progressed, it was decided an existing Stats NZ framework, He Arotahi Tatauranga, provided a useful way to organise the indicators.

Once the list had been completed, data experts and website developers worked together to develop a website that would allow users to access the data about each measure in the most appropriate way.

 Ngā Tūtohu Aotearoa – Indicators Aotearoa New Zealand is a dynamic website. The indicators will be reviewed and refined regularly through ongoing discussions with key stakeholders to ensure they remain relevant.


The wellbeing indicators format

The wellbeing indicators developed for Ngā Tūtohu Aotearoa – Indicators Aotearoa New Zealand build on international best practices for measuring wellbeing and sustainable development, and follow the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) reporting standards. The SDGs have 17 ambitious goals that, among other things, aim to:

  • achieve full and productive employment by 2030
  • end hunger
  • eradicate poverty.

Like the SDGs, Ngā Tūtohu Aotearoa – Indicators Aotearoa New Zealand goes beyond economic measures of progress to consider social and environmental measures. It also considers New Zealand’s unique situation by incorporating cultural and te ao Māori perspectives.



 The Ngā Tūtohu Aotearoa – Indicators Aotearoa New Zealand website aims to be accessible for all users. In developing the website, we seek to ensure it follows the New Zealand Government web standards as closely as possible.  

 The website should display correctly on a desktop computer, tablet, or mobile device. It will also automatically fit the width of the browser window on a desktop computer, tablet, or mobile phone. 

 Content on this website is displayed using HTML. This means the text and design should work in your browser.  

 We want to make sure this website continues to be as accessible as possible. If you have problems accessing or using it, if something doesnt look right, or if you have other feedback about its accessibility, please email: publishing@stats.govt.nz. 


Addressing data gaps

Ngā Tūtohu Aotearoa – Indicators Aotearoa New Zealand was developed based on what information would be needed to understand wellbeing in New Zealand. The selection of indicators was not driven by the availability of data and therefore there are some data gaps. These range from a complete gap, where no data source is currently available, to limitations in the ability to break the data down to levels that are meaningful to different communities.

Currently, 47 indicators have no current data source, and 11 indicators do not have ideal data sources, so a proxy is used. Most of the data gaps are within the environment area, which is an emerging area of statistical focus.

Over the next financial year, Stats NZ aims to work with a broad range of stakeholders to understand the data gaps, and how these may be addressed. This work will be provided to the Government for consideration.


Information on child wellbeing

 Ngā Tūtohu Aotearoa – Indicators Aotearoa New Zealand includes some child-specific indicators, including:

  • child poverty
  • early childhood education participation
  • literacy, numeracy, and science skills of 15-year-olds
  • harm against children.

Where possible, other indicators will be disaggregated by age to present data on children and other age groups.

Little data is collected from a child’s perspective. This is an acknowledged data gap and future work may be undertaken to address this gap.


Partnership with Māori

Partnership with Māori was recognised as crucial for Ngā Tūtohu Aotearoa – Indicators Aotearoa New Zealand. Initiatives included:

  • establishing a Māori Advisory Panel to advise on te ao Māori values for wellbeing
  • correspondence with Tūhono affiliates to share information
  • conducting an indigenous peer review to consider the indicators from international indigenous perspectives
  • conducting an expert review to consider the indicators from a te ao Māori perspective
  • researching Māori and iwi wellbeing frameworks to understand te ao Māori wellbeing frameworks.

Continued partnership with Māori and embedding te ao Māori perspectives in Ngā Tūtohu Aotearoa – Indicators Aotearoa New Zealand is a priority for work throughout the next financial year.

We expect all content on the website to be available in te reo Māori in July 2019.