Giving parents more support during the first few years could prevent child abuse further down the track.
A report from AUT finds one in 10 children will face abuse or neglect.
It used research data that followed 55,000 children born in this country over 15 years, and found incidents involving one in four were reported to child protection services over that time.
Children's Minister Tracey Martin told Kate Hawkesby New Zealand needs to return to the days when parents didn't feel ashamed to ask for help.
"We actually were more connected to our families, whether that was through longer Plunkett visits or Karitane Nurses, and so help was provided when we saw there was stress."
LISTEN ABOVE AS TRACEY MARTIN SPEAKS WITH KATE HAWKESBY