Mind & Matters

Understanding the hearts and minds of Kiwis.


Monthly insights designed to help you better understand public sentiment, from macro trends to behaviours and attitudes towards key interest areas. Brought to you by Perceptive and Sapien Research.



Key findings

Top level insights from the report

Hope has increased 5% since February, while fewer New Zealanders are feeling anxious (-5%) and stressed.


The proportion of Kiwis saying their personal financial situation is impacting their household has decreased 4%. 

Impacts on households

New Zealanders are starting to think things will get better (+6% on March). 

12-month outlook

This month's insights

Released 16 May 2024

Hope is trending up

New Zealanders are becoming more hopeful with this emotion seeing a 5% increase since February. Alongside this positive emotion is a corresponding decline in New Zealanders who are feeling anxious (-6% since February) and stressed (-5% since March). April saw three-quarters (76%) indicate they had felt a positive emotion in the last week, the highest result since tracking began.

  • Hopeful: has increased since February (44%) to its current peak (49%). 
  • Stressed: increased from January to March but April saw a 5% decline.   
  • Optimistic: has remained stable for the past couple of months. 
  • Motivated: has seen slight increases since February. 
  • Anxious: peaked in February and has now dropped by 6% since then.  



When looking at the differences between men and women, women remain more likely to have experienced negative emotions than men (79% of women versus 60% of men indicated a negative in April). Negative emotions are more common among those aged 18-29 (84% expressed a negative) with them more likely to have felt stressed and uncertain (58% and 38% respectively). In contrast, those over 65 years old remain the least likely to have experienced negative emotions (60%), the least likely to feel stressed (22%) and the most likely to feel optimistic (49%).


New Zealanders are starting to think things will get better

Looking ahead to the next 12 months, a positive trend is emerging with a 6% increase this wave in the proportion of New Zealanders expecting things to get better, and fewer New Zealanders expecting things to stay the same (44%) or worsen (13%); the proportion of New Zealanders who expect things to get worse has decreased by 3% since March.



When breaking this down by age, it's encouraging to see this positivity is widespread with those aged 18-59 years more likely to believe things will improve, whereas those over 60 largely believe things will stay the same. In terms of gender, men are more likely to think things will get better (49% versus 36% for women in April) while half of women believe things will remain the same. 


Right direction sentiment has bounced back

Overall, most New Zealanders continue to feel the country is heading in the wrong direction (54%). However, April saw this proportion decline (-3%) after a rise in March, and there’s a corresponding increase this wave in the proportion of New Zealanders who think New Zealand is going in the right direction (up 3% reversing its March drop).  

New Zealanders on the North Island are slightly more positive (47% right direction compared to 44% South Island). Whilst the negative sentiment is strongest among women (61% versus 46% men) and those who are single and living alone/with friends. 



Personal financial situation drops but remains the #1 impact 

In April, the three main factors that have affected New Zealanders’ households the most remained the same: 

  1. Your financial situation (48%) – down by 4% since March 
  2. The New Zealand economy (47%) – same as March 
  3. The New Zealand healthcare system (38%) – same as March. 


Cost of living impacts slightly soften 

In April, the proportion of Kiwis having to cut back on spending decreased by 1%, with a corresponding 2% increase in those who are conscious of spending. However, inflation is still impacting New Zealanders more than it did at the beginning of the year.  



Top 3 categories New Zealanders would cut back on if they had to

  1. Homeware and décor – 63% 
  2. Entertainment, media, and streaming services – 60% 
  3. Alcohol/tobacco/vapes – 59%



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April 2024

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October 2023

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Holiday spending and new year resolutions

Nov 2023 - Jan 2024

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About this tracker


What is Mind & Matters?

Mind & Matters is designed to help business and leaders better understand public sentiment. From macro trends to behaviours and attitudes towards key interest areas, such as such as job security, personal finance, mental health, the environment and more, Mind & Matters is your comprehensive check-in on the state-of-mind of the New Zealand public.


Why we're running this tracker?

In April 2020, in the midst of a pandemic lockdown, Perceptive and Sapien built the first Covid-19 Tracker to help businesses and leaders better understand the hearts and minds of Kiwis as we experienced this unprecedented event.

Fast forward to 2023 and the world—and New Zealand—continues to experience change on multiple fronts, from rising inflation to the rise of eCommerce and generative AI. With this in mind, Perceptive and Sapien have taken the best of our Covid-19 tracker produce this comprehensive tracker that explores what Kiwis think, feel and believe in relation to some of the most topical and challenging issues of today.


How often will Mind & Matters be released?

Mind & Matters releases its findings online every month. To ensure you don't miss a release, subscribe to Mind & Matters and have updates sent straight to your inbox.