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A campaign to get us talking more and differently with babies and young children



Talking Matters is a community-wide initiative, bringing together education, health and social services with whānau to promote the importance of talking more and talking differently with children, to maximise their potential. Talking is particularly important when children's brains are forming – in the first three years, so our focus is families with infants and toddlers. 

The Talking Matters campaign is a call to action because oral language in the early years is an equity issue. Some children in Auckland are starting school with the oral language we would normally expect of three-year-olds. That disadvantage is a significant contributor to the achievement gap between our poorer and more affluent children. The majority of children with low oral language live in low-socio economic communities. 

Everybody can be part of Talking Matters - Find out more on the Talking Matters website and follow us on Facebook.


Talking Matters to Tāmaki Graduation

We had a lovely graduation ceremony in December for our second group of Talking Matters to Tāmaki children and parents. They'd successfully completed their 12-week course and had lots of inspiring stories to share. And cake! 

Thanks to all the family and friends who came along in support, and to our partners at the Glen Innes Family Centre.

We'll be launching a third round of Talking Matters to Tāmaki this year. 



Talking Matters director Alison Sutton joined 3,400 practitioners, researchers and policy makers at the Zero To Three Conference in Denver in October.  

"It was incredibly stimulating," Alison says. "Talking Matters will be drawing on the insights for months to come." 



Talking more and differently with children in their first 1000 days needs to be at the top of the Government's agenda for its child wellbeing strategy, Talking Matters director Alison Sutton told the annual NEXT Foundation Outlook Breakfast in Wellington. 


We had the pleasure of attending the premiere of Le Malelega a le To'elau's video about the power of the Talanoa Ato or basket, developed as part of our Talking Matters campaign.


A working group is being set up in Māngere to look at ways to encourage parents and teachers to talk more with with babies and toddlers.

It follows our very successful Talking Matters community fono at Southern Cross Campus.

The working group will explore how to promote more talk in “any and every language”, says Talking Matters project manager Emma Quigan. 



Making fabric books for younger brothers and sisters is a big hit, judging by Talking Matters' stall at Saturday's Winter Wonderland in Glen Innes


NEXT Foundation has extended its investment in Talking Matters, a COMET campaign promoting the importance of rich language and interaction with babies and young children.

The commitment, following 18 months’ of seed funding in 2016, makes Talking Matters a key part of NEXT’s education investment in the First 1000 Days of life.

NEXT CEO Bill Kermode says they’re delighted to renew support for Talking Matters.


We’ve had a birth in the family! The Talking Matters Movement is the result of connecting the inspiring mothers from Granger Grove with Insight Tamaki, a collective of parent social researchers. 

We’ve imported more LENA recorders in response to huge interest generated by the success of the trial with Granger Grove mums. And Talking Matters in Whanganui. 


In the Media


Can a baby’s babble indicate they’ll be a good reader? 1 NEWS

Exhibition of Whanganui journey stories gets so big it needs another buildingWanganui Chronicle 

Sharing families' waka stories. Wanganui Chronicle

Language, poverty and conquering a childhood stutter.  Newsroom  

New technology aiding parents and toddlers to communicate. Stuff

New technology aiding parents and toddlers to communicate. The Southland Times

Getting tots to talkNZ Herald p1-3  

Babies' speech tracked in bid to bridge learning gap between rich and poornzherald.co.nz       

Patrese Herewini talks about The Talking Matters program.  nzherald.co.nz (News Video) 

New Zealand’s inequality must change, Children’s Commissioner says. Stuff 

Early language capability begins at home. Newsroom  

Words ‘brain food for children’. Nine to Noon, Radio NZ

NEXT chairman Chris Liddell interview on Talking Matters. TV1 Breakfast

Early childhood talk vital to increasing babies' vocabulary. 6pm TV3 News/Newshub 




Talking Matters is a COMET Auckland campaign funded by







Website www.talkingmatters.org.nz | Facebook  @TalkingMattersNZ |Twitter @TalkMattersNZ