Sexual Health

Check out our sexual health resources.

Positive sexuality is fundamental to our sense of self, self-esteem and ability to lead a fulfilling life.  Only a small part of healthy sexuality is about what happens physically.  Equally important is our ability to maintain healthy relationships and to manage our feelings in a safe and positive manner.

Healthy sexuality begins at birth and covers the entire life-span.  While acknowledging parents as first educators, the elements important for a whole of setting approach to positive sexuality include relevant, comprehensive, age-appropriate education, provision of a safe and nurturing environment, partnerships with and access to health services and pathways, a focus on the development of social skills and should consider the attitudes, culture, values and diversity of individuals, families and your wider community.

“Young people need the knowledge and skills to navigate a context where they are exposed to a broader range of sexuality-related content at an earlier age than previously.  Without appropriate knowledge and skills, young people are at risk of developing unhealthy attitudes towards sexuality, increasing risks to mental and physical wellbeing of themselves and others.  Most schools are teaching the mechanics of sex and safe sex, but there’s a lack of focus on relationships, consent, gender identity, digital technologies, sexual violence and pornography.  Good sexuality education can have a significant impact on student wellbeing, achievement and success - at all year levels of the curriculum there’s a strong focus on respectful relationships”.

ERO Group Manager Evaluation Services Dr Deirdre Shaw.
Reference: - How well are NZ schools promoting wellbeing for their students through sexuality education


What WAVE can do:

  • Support a whole setting approach to the development of positive sexuality, friendships and relationships in children and young people
  • Provide advice and age-appropriate resources to support curriculum content
  • Organise professional development to support delivery of sexuality education
  • Support and provide guidance with the whānau consultation processes



In Aotearoa New Zealand data suggest that young people are at substantially higher risk of contracting STIs than in other western countries including the UK and Australia.  While the issues around engaging young people in good sexual health practices are not new; the contextual landscape (e.g. the acceptance of casual sexual engagement, increasing visibility of same-sex sexual relationships, access to and challenges with the cyber world and changing understandings of gender) is markedly different than in previous generations.

Initial results from a 2015 survey of over 10,000 New Zealanders aged 15 years and over, show that half of all New Zealanders, have had sex by the time they are 17 years old, however today’s younger people are much more likely to use condoms with their first sexual encounters – 80% up from less than 40% in the 1970s[i].  Condom use is vitally important for both preventing unwanted pregnancies as well as preventing sexually transmitted infections – particularly in light of recent increases in the number of people with syphilis.

A 2007/2012 Youth Health Survey comparison shows that by the age of 15, 1 in 4 young people in New Zealand have had sex at least once.  However the good news is a significant drop in the number of young people overall who reported ever having sex, down from 1 in 3 (2007) to 1 in 4 (2012)[ii]


Useful Resources and Websites:

ERO Logo 

Education Review Office (ERO)
Promoting wellbeing through sexuality education
Click here 

 TKI Logo

Ministry of Education - Te Kete Ipurangi (TKI)
Curriculum in action - Sexuality education for curriculum levels 1-4
Click here

 FPA Logo (1)

Family Planning Association
Click here

 Navigating the Journey Logo Family Planning Association
Navigating the Journey:  Sexuality Education (Years 1-10)

Everything you need including lesson plans and activities for a comprehensive delivery of sexuality education.  There curriculum bases resources are produced to align with and meet the NZ Health and PE Standards
Click here - resources
Click here - courses
 YMCA Resiliency Project Logo YMCA - Resilency Toolkit
Working ‘at the top of the cliff’ with 14-18 year olds in secondary schools across the region to build important life skills in stress management, decision-making around alcohol and drugs, healthy relationships, cybersafety and peer mentoring.
Click here
 Just The Facts Logo JUST THE FACTS
Designed with young people in mind, JUST THE FACTS aims to provide simple, up-to-date information about Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and related issues 
Click here
 Mates and Dates Logo Mates & Dates
Mates & Dates is a programme that helps young people have healthy and happy relationships; all kinds of relationships, including family and friends. It also covers consent and identifying potentially harmful situations.  Mates & Dates is being taught in secondary schools by the YMCA Mid and South Canterbury team.
Click here
 The Light Project Logo The Light Project
Equipping young people, their whānau and communities to positively navigate the new porn landscape.
Click here
 OFLC Logo Office of Film & Literature Classification
Challenging Media – Talking with young people about what they’re watching.
Click here
 Netsafe Logo

Practical tools, support and advice for managing online challenges.
Click here

 Common Ground Logo Common Ground
Helping you to support young people to manage hard times and enjoy happier lives.
Click here
 Rainbow Youth Logo RainbowYOUTH
RainbowYOUTH provides support and a number of services for queer and gender diverse youth and their wider communities all across Aotearoa. Supporting queer, gender diverse in Aotearoa, New Zealand.
Click here
 Qtopia Logo Qtopia
Qtopia provide support for rainbow young people in the wider Waitaha Canterbury area through their youth groups, whānau support and resources.  They also run diversity and inclusion workshops for schools, workplaces and community.
Click here



[i] Ministry of Health. Media release – Sexual health reinforces importance of condom use. 1 November 2018.

[ii] Youth '12 - Sexual and reproductive health findings, Dr Terryann Clark & the Adolescent Health Research Group.