Over the past year, more than 40 kura in West Auckland have pledged ‘water is the first choice’ on school grounds. This initiative has resulted in Healthy Families Waitakere supporting the installation of more than 60 modern water fountains throughout West Auckland kura, making water accessible for more than 18,000 students.
Healthy Families Waitakere manager, Kerry Allan, says while this is a great start, there are still a number kura in the Waitakere region alone which could benefit from this initiative.
“We have seen the water only initiative make an impactful change in the kura taking part. From Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Hoani Waititi installing three water fountains and creating a wai haka to challenge other kura to take the pledge, to the students of Henderson North Primary who since going fizz-free have created unique murals on its water fountains. Healthy Families Waitakere understand kura are unique places which enable healthy choices to be learned and instilled from an early age.”
The consumption of sugary drinks in kura is contributing to poor dental health, adverse learning outcomes and reduced overall health in young people. Kerry continues,
“To combat issues like obesity and chronic disease, we need to make significant changes. One simple change is making water the first choice of drink, so it’s vital we make it readily available for our children and whānau.”
Healthy Families Waitakere has been supporting local kura since 2016 to implement water-only policies and help to improve the infrastructure to support water as the first choice of drink.