Step aside Beyonce: Most young Kiwi girls admire mum most

Madeline Arps, 14, named her mum Donna Arps as her main role model in life as part of a newly released GirlGuiding NZ ...
ROBERT KITCHIN/FAIRFAX NZ

Madeline Arps, 14, named her mum Donna Arps as her main role model in life as part of a newly released GirlGuiding NZ survey released in time for Mother's Day.

Mum's the word when it comes to who young Kiwi girls look up to most as strong female role models.

A study, released by GirlGuiding New Zealand, just in time for Mothers Day, found that mums - more than A-listers Beyonce and Kim Kardashian - are the most admired people in their daughter's eyes.

Amongst the more than 4300 girls surveyed was 14-year-old Madeline Arps who went with the majority naming her mum Donna Arps as her number one inspiration in life.

Kiwi mums, like Arps, beat out celebrities Beyonce and and Michelle Obama in the survey.
ROBERT KITCHIN/FAIRFAX NZ

Kiwi mums, like Arps, beat out celebrities Beyonce and and Michelle Obama in the survey.

"I love my mum, I admire her energy, she's always doing awesome things and it's really cool to see her go and go and do it all."

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While most of the comprehensive "What Matters" survey had been multi-choice, the idol question had been left blank, allowing the participants to name anyone.

One in four - the equivalent of more than 1000 girls - named their mum as their main role model.

"I think, with idols, it's about relatability. I look up to someone because I can see myself being them, Madeline said.

"Confidence is the main thing, whether it's parents or popstars - they always seem to be super confident in who they are."

The study of girls between the ages of 7 and 17 also found that hard work and care for others were the traits most admired in role models.

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The mother-daughter pair often had their disagreements but Madeline knew it was only because "she wants what's best for me even if I'm trying to run and off and do something else."

Donna had a similarly close relationship with her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother growing up and was happy to continue that closeness with her own daughter even if times had changed.

"In my teenage life I don't think I had the same level of pressure that Madeline does with body image and  social media but she's doing well with it all."

GirlGuiding New Zealand National President Fiona Harnett said the study revealed a refreshing view of Millennial and Generation Z youth, where pop culture didn't dominate their views on life.

"The results show that mothers are the biggest influence on young women, who hold them in high esteem.

"New Zealand girls aspire to be hardworking and confident, and their mothers set the example."

The study also looked at body image, mental health, acceptance and achieving success.

 - Sunday Star Times

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