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She’s anything but average

By SUE ALLEN and MICHELLE QUIRKE

Have you ever wondered what the average New Zealand child might be like? Well, wonder no more.

According to a census of 18,000 eight to 15-year-olds, Wellington Girls College pupil Sara Connor, fits the bill almost exactly.

Sara, like most respondents to the survey, is 13 years old, travels to school by car, lives with three other family members — her mum and two sisters — and eats toast or cereals for breakfast. But her favourite breakfast is French toast.

She owns a mobile phone, has access to a computer, likes using the Internet — for listening to music and messaging her friends — and one of her favourite school subjects is art. The only box Sara does not tick — she lives in Wellington, not Auckland, where most respondents came from.

CensusAtSchool coordinator Megan Jowsey said the survey had asked 23 questions ranging from eye colour and height to whether boys skip faster than girls and how long it took to travel to school.

The results, on the New Zealand CensusatSchool website, can be accessed by teachers and will provide a rich and relevant database for students to explore.

One of the most interesting results was how many children were born outside New Zealand. The results show that 20 per cent of children who answered the on-line survey were born overseas in countries ranging from Australia, Korea, England, South Africa, China and India. Almost one-third could hold a conversation in more than one language.

Though most respondents liked art best, physical education was almost as popular. Younger boys rated maths as their second favourite subject, but younger girls liked drama and dance.

Census at School was developed at Nottingham Trent University three years ago, and 60,000 children from Britain, 3.5 million from South Africa and thousands from Australia have taken part.

New Zealand is the fourth country to take up the project, while Italy, Norway, Canada and United States have expressed interest.

So, what does the average New Zealand kid like doing in her spare time? “Hanging with her friends” and “listening to music”. And Sara said she felt far from average.

Source: The Dominion Post