Nearly half of New Zealand primary school students bullied - survey

Nearly half of New Zealand primary school students have experienced a form of bullying.

A new survey from the Education Review Office (ERO) found 47 percent of primary students have felt bullied at their current school, and 28 percent of secondary school students.

Boys were more likely than girls to be bullied, but children who identified as gender-diverse - around 1 percent - reported levels of bullying much higher than other children.

"The bullying that they experience was at quite significantly higher levels - schools weren't really talking to kids about gender diversity," ERO spokesperson Deidre Shaw told Newshub.

Students reported they were aware of strategies to apply if they were bullied or witnessed bullying, but only 36 percent saw the bullying stop when they applied them.

For others the bullying stopped for a while, or it got worse.

ERO chief review officer Nicholas Pole said in a statement schools know what's going on, but they're not doing enough.

"Even schools that are doing the right things are not succeeding in eliminating bullying. The levels of bullying in our schools are profoundly troubling and require urgent attention."

Shaw said the results found adults need to set a good example for their kids.

"Really sort of highlights the need for an awareness, not just in schools but across the whole community around the prevalence of bullying."

She said bullying goes further than in schools.

"It's a broader societal issue, and so we can achieve so much in school, but our kids need to be learning about and experiencing healthy relationships at home."

Pole echoed that sentiment, referencing New Zealand's high levels of abuse and bullying among adults.

"New Zealand has high rates of domestic and sexual violence, and workplace bullying. Schools must strive for positive change but they cannot run faster than community attitudes and social norms. We all need to take a hard look at the culture.

"Schools, parents and communities need to have high expectations of their children’s behaviour, and to model respect and kindness themselves."

Monday marks the beginning of Bullying-Free Week.