Dunedin Study documentary

The the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health & Development Study (Dunedin Study) has been running since 1972-73, with ongoing studies of the lives of around a thousand people born about 44 years ago in Dunedin.

A 4 part documentary has been made about the study and will go to air next week. It can also be viewed on TVNZ On Demand.


We are delighted to announce that the first episode of the Dunedin Study documentary series goes to air in New Zealand on Tuesday, May 31, at 9.30pm on TV ONE programmed as “Why Am I?”

Also, as a bit of a first, TVNZ will be putting all  4 episodes up on TVNZ on Demand at 12.01 am on Monday 23rd

Study details:

The ongoing Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study  is a detailed study of human health, development and behaviour.

The Dunedin Study has followed the lives of 1037 babies born between 1 April 1972 and 31 March 1973 Queen Mary Maternity Hospital, Dunedin, New Zealand, since their birth. The Study is now in its fifth decade and has produced over 1150 publications and reports, many of which have influenced or helped inform policy makers in New Zealand and overseas.

Documentary preview:

World TV Networks queue for “Spellbinding” Study Documentary

Tuesday 16th February 2016

The scientific community has long-regarded the University of Otago’s ground-breaking Dunedin Study as an invaluable research tool, but it will receive unprecedented levels of public attention when a television documentary on its findings reaches global audiences later this year.

The four-part series Why Am I? -The Science of Us will screen nationally in 2016, before reaching international audiences via networks covering 70 countries, including BBC Asia and SBS Australia.

Documentary maker, Mark McNeill, said the New Zealand On Air funded series had attracted worldwide interest because the ground-breaking study addressed “fundamental” questions about what it meant to be human.

Although widely recognised in the international scientific community as an “invaluable” research tool, and having produced some of the most quoted papers in scientific literature, the Study was almost unknown by the wider public, Mr McNeill says.

Over the past 40 years, the Study has documented every aspect of the health, development and well-being of the 1037 Study members born in Dunedin in 1972–73.

The Study has yielded some 1200 research articles, reports, books and book chapters, which have influenced thinking and policy-making both here and around the world, Professor Poulton says.

Although established as a “public good research enterprise”, it has generated NZ$12.5 million from overseas funding agencies.

Since its inception, Study findings have been used in a wide range of investigations, including child health, injury prevention, ageing, infertility, the genetic basis for antisocial behaviour, and links between drug abuse and adult psychosis.

More recently, the Study published work quantifying the pace of ageing among cohort members. It was described as the fourth most important scientific discovery in 2015 in the US publication Science News: Magazine of the Society for Science & the Public


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  1. Corky

     /  21st May 2016

    Excellent. This study should destroy a few sacred cows. Pity they couldn’t have waited another eight years before shooting this doco. The major findings, in my opinion, will become more apparent during the participants mid-fifties.

  2. Gezza

     /  21st May 2016

    Awesome. Sounds like a “must watch” series.

  3. This will be very interesting… great it is on TVNZ ON Demand


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