Brainwave Trust

Brainwave aims to reach people with vital information on what is happening inside babies’ brains in the first critical years, and how this impacts on adulthood. Brainwave Trust is a national organisation set up as an independent charity with the aim of having every child in New Zealand raised with care and security.

The Brainwave committee is made up of doctors, educationalists, legal, academic and business professionals most of whom work voluntarily to achieve this aim. The Patron of the organisation is Judge Michael Brown, and the committee includes Judy Bailey and Lesley Max.

Brainwave’s work supports the following organisations with which it has strong relationships:

  • Government agencies including Child, Youth & Family, NZ Police, Children’s Agenda, and Safer Cities
  • Plunket
  • Barnardos
  • HIPPY ( Pacific Foundation)

What does it do?

It used to be commonly believed that how bright you were and your capabilities … were fixed at birth.

We now know this is not the case.

  • A baby’s brain is only 15% formed at birth with the majority of the remaining 85% formed in the first three years of life.
  • A child’s early experiences are critical for their brains to form the connections they need to progress.
  • The experiences in these early years have a direct impact on how a child’s brain develops.
  • A child’s brain is actually more active than an adult’s brain.

Both genes and experience are important.

Consistent nurturing and positive rich experiences result in flexible, responsible, empathetic and intelligent members of society.

Neglect, chaotic environments, violence and abuse can result in aggressive, remorseless and intellectually starved members of society.

Many of New Zealand’s staggering crime, mental illness and unemployment figures are related to early childhood trauma or neglect.

It is recognised and now scientifically proven that the early childhood years profoundly affect adult life and in turn affect the society we live in.

There are a number of ways Brainwave reaches people:

  • Professionally trained presenters are available to deliver a variety of talks tailored to suit different audiences.
  • Via a comprehensive website – including detailed information, new research articles and useful links at
  • Brochures, videos and written material available for distribution. The booklets are available in English, Maori & Samoan.
  • Lobby policy-makers. Brainwave committee members are in contact with policy-makers to lobby on behalf of children.

How is it funded?

Brainwave receives no government funding. It relies entirely on grants, corporate support & individual donations.

How can I get their help?

  • To order booklets or videos: email or phone 09 528 3981.
  • To learn more, organise a presentation or subscribe to their newsletter, see the website link below.

How much does it cost?

Presentation costs are negotiable depending on your circumstances. Brochures are free, but there is a small cost for multiple copies of our ten page booklet in order to cover our printing and distribution costs.

Link to the Brainwave Trust Website

This is a comprehensive site covering all aspects of the work of the Brainwave Trust. It includes sections tailored to the interests of parents/caregivers; educators; social workers; and health professionals. There is an events calendar and list of resources available as well as contact details and news items.

The Kiwi Families Team

This information was compiled by the Kiwi Families team.

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