We reviewed a number of longitudinal studies in New Zealand that have attempted to investigate and identify changes in family or whānau over time. Most of the studies described in this paper focus on the family unit, typically within households and impose some restriction on the definition of family. As a result they are not able to adequately quantify changes in both whakapapa and kaupapa whānau over time. The review found only one study, The Best Outcomes for Māori: Te Hoe Nuku Roa (Cunningham, Stevenson & Tassell, 2005; Forster, 2003), which is aligned with Kaupapa Māori principles and is suitable for measuring changes in self-defined whānau over time in New Zealand. This review highlights that it is challenging to measure whānau quantitatively, let alone investigating changes over time. More research needs to be conducted into how to quantitatively measure whānau and this needs to be built in to population wide surveys, such as the census, as well as new longitudinal surveys such as the Growing Up in New Zealand study.

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