A wrap up of news from Healthy Families Lower Hutt
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Te Aroha Softball Club team member with Player of the Day certificates.
December 2018

Meri Kirihimete and a happy new year


It’s been another busy year for Healthy Families Lower Hutt. We have been working alongside our communities in Lower Hutt to create healthy, sustainable change in the places we live, learn, work and play.

As the year draws to a close we’d like to reflect on our collective mahi.  This short video features some of our Healthy Family Lower Hutt’s Strategic Leadership Group’s reflections on 2018 as well as some footage of this year’s highlights.

Mo Town Cafe Refill NZ signage.

It is exciting to see more groups join Turning the Tide, a movement which celebrates and acknowledges the great work that is being done in our city and beyond towards making the healthy choice the easy choice.
We’d also like to welcome Wendy Gerraty to our team. Wendy started in early December as our Team Coordinator. She will play a vital role in enabling the wider team to drive initiatives to improve the health and wellbeing of our communities.

Healthy Kai System Hui

People at the Healthy Kai System Hui.

People from a range of health, food, gardening and community backgrounds around Te Awakairangi and wider, came together on Friday 16 November for a Healthy Kai Systems Hui.
The demand for the hui came out of Ron Finley, the Gangsta Gardener’s visit in August. His message was one of building up communities by growing their own fruit and vegetables in community spaces. The aim was to explore what people are already doing in the food space and how we can work together to make access to healthy kai the norm in Lower Hutt.
Healthy Families Lower Hutt’s Tom Pere introduced the hui with the whakatauki, Tāu rourou, tāku rourou, ka ora ai te iwi. With your food basket and my food basket the people will thrive. Ohomauri Collective members, Te Atawhai Kumar of Te Aho Tū Roa and John Kingi of Rangatahi Tū Rangatira co-designed the programme for the day. Te Atawhai started the day unpacking the whakapapa of kai. John followed by speaking about pre-European land use and gardening, using the example of the Te Aro Pa.

Food system diagram.The group used a western food system diagram which depicts the journey of the kumara as a starting point to map what capability we currently have and to recognise synergies and opportunities. One key theme that emerged during the day was the need for more community voice. There was recognition that working alongside our people to get a better understanding of what they need and want is the best way to start. 
Before sharing some healthy kai for lunch we took action by planting kumara in pots outside the Healthy Families Lower Hutt offices at Pelorus Trust Sports House. Hui attendees who were interested took home a kumara plant in order to Turn the Tide towards a healthier food environment in their own lives.
A key outcome of the hui was the desire to stay connected as a group. Healthy Families Lower Hutt can support the creation of a network and start with taking the mapping from the day further with a live database of contacts and roles. If you are interested in adding information to this database or joining the network please contact us

Imagine if good food was easily available and affordable for everyone, where growing and sharing good food was a normal part of everyday life.

The importance of play for our tamariki

Children playing in bubble foam.
Play in the Hutt is a movement to create more opportunities for play for our young people. Play is an essential part of children’s cognitive, physical, social and emotional development, yet across Aotearoa and internationally, the evidence shows that quality play experiences are becoming less common and accessible for many of our tamariki.
Sport New Zealand, Hutt City Council and Healthy Families Lower Hutt have been working together to explore the current state of play in Lower Hutt and what we can do to make our city one that provides safe and inviting play spaces for our tamariki. Researcher, Lara Andrews spoke to children and parents in Lower Hutt to produce some baseline data on Play in Lower Hutt.
“Play is holistic, it develops the mind, physical movement, friendship and creativity. It captures so much. The thought of children not having the permission, opportunity or space to play feels like we’re not giving them the fundamental tools they need for their lives. We almost take play for granted. Parents are thinking more about healthy food for our kids and healthy activity, play is equally important.”
The results have been published in the report, Tākaro to play. Some of the findings were striking, including that 96 percent of parents and 88 percent of children surveyed reported that children are not playing everyday.
Hutt City Council is committed to creating more opportunities for local play in our city. “Now when we are designing our city we’ll be creating environments that support and encourage play. This contributes to the health and wellbeing of our whole community,” says Mark Curr, Sport and Recreation Programmes Manager, Hutt City Council.
Imagine if our neighbourhood places and spaces supported our tamariki to get outside, be active and play.  

Making it easy for events to be smokefree in Lower Hutt

A smokefree event at Williams Park, Days Bay.

Hutt City Council recently released the Smokefree Lower Hutt Event Toolkit, developed together with Healthy Families Lower Hutt. Hutt City Council is proud to have one of the most comprehensive smokefree policies in New Zealand. 

The Smokefree Outdoor Public Places Policy makes many of Lower Hutt’s places and spaces smokefree, including parks and sports grounds,  playgrounds, and outdoor pavement dining areas.  The Policy also states that all Hutt City Council events are smokefree. The Smokefree Lower Hutt Event Toolkit provides useful advice and tips to members of the community who are holding events in our outdoor spaces across the city.
Smokefree events are another way we can reduce the impact of smoking on our community. Children copy what they see. Exposing children to smoking behaviour makes it normal for them, and increases the likelihood that they will smoke in the future.  Smokefree events also support people who are on their journey to quit smoking.  Hutt City Council is committed to achieving a Smokefree Lower Hutt and enabling smokefree, family-friendly events is one way of contributing to this goal.
The toolkit includes information on why smokefree events are important, tips on how to communicate the smokefree message and smokefree signage and resources to support smokefree events.  Find out more about Smokefree Lower Hutt at  

Imagine if all our events were smokefree, where our children don't see smoking and aren't exposed to second-hand smoke.

Awakairangi Garden Blitz

Garden Blitz gardeners holding the Turning the Tide sign.
Gareth West who works at Stokes Valley Koraunui Hub is a community champion. His love of gardening and fresh food led him to set up Awakairangi Garden Blitz, a community initiative where people come together to build a backyard vegetable garden in an afternoon.
The goal is to create a network of māra kai around Lower Hutt, making fruit and vegetables more accessible. For many it may be the first time they have done any gardening so it is also a learning exercise and grows the collective skills and knowledge required to make these gardens successful and sustainable.
Gareth says, “To me the most important thing about the initiative is giving people the opportunity to have their own vegetable garden and support a network of people around them who can help them to make it flourish”.

Before and after photos of a Garden Blitz vege patch in Stokes Valley.
Above: Before and after photos of a garden built on 22 September in Shackleton Grove, Stokes Valley.

There is no cost to the homeowner and when you help out at two garden blitzes you become eligible to have a garden built at your home. Garden Blitz also has an agreement with Housing New Zealand that allows tenants to build gardens on Housing New Zealand properties.
There has been a blitz a month since September and it has been a true team effort, with support and materials provided by partners. Awakairangi Garden Blitz is Turning the Tide towards a healthier Lower Hutt by enabling people to grow their own healthy kai in their backyards. Community gardening initiatives are springing up all over the country. It’s great to see Lower Hutt joining the fold.
Healthy Families Waitakere and Healthy Families Rotorua have both been involved in the My Backyard Garden Project. In Waitakere more than 140 raised vegetable gardens have been installed in family backyards, schools, community houses and workplaces. Rotorua has 66 backyard gardens, eight of those are at Early Childhood/Kohanga Reo centres.
If you are interested in being part of this initiative contact Gareth West at the Stokes Valley Koraunui Hub.
Imagine if good food was easily available and affordable for everyone, where growing and sharing good food was a normal part of everyday life.

Player of the Day continues to grow

Player of the Day infographic
Softball clubs around the Wellington region are catching on to “Go the H2O Player of the Day” certificates which come with a free pool pass to any council pool run by Hutt City Council, Wellington City Council, Upper Hutt City Council, Porirua City Council or Kāpiti Coast District Council.
Te Aroha Softball Club was the first softball club to promote water-only sidelines and be rewarded with the pool passes in 2017. Another 10 softball clubs have joined the water-only movement enabling 1500 junior softball players to receive pool passes as their player of the day reward.
Susan Luke, Junior Convener for Te Aroha Softball Club says, “Our community event, Te Rā o te Raukura, went Fizz Free in 2013, promoting a Wai Māori kaupapa. It was only right that Te Aroha Softball continues to promote our water kaupapa through the club. When we had the opportunity to promote drinking water on our sidelines and incorporate the Player of the Day pool passes we jumped on board straight away.”
Check out the recent story on Stuff.
Imagine if wai was always the first choice of drink for our tamariki. 

Making it easy to get a refill of drinking water in our city

Colab Cafe Refill NZ signage.

We’ve teamed up with Refill NZ to encourage cafes and businesses to refill drinking water bottles for free around Lower Hutt. Cafes and other businesses sign up to become a refill station by putting a sticker in their window which invites people to come in and fill up their bottle. Healthy Families Lower Hutt team member Tom Pere says, “For us it’s about making the healthy choice the easy choice”.
Cafes to jump on board so far are Mo Town, Small Batch, Tūtaki at the Events Centre, Days Bay Pavillion and Colab Cafe. In 2019 we will continue to encourage cafes as well as organisations and businesses to become refill locations. Not only does this initiative provide easy access to drinking water in our city but it will reduce single use plastic bottles. It also supports the wider 'Go the H2O' movement of encouraging water as the drink of choice in Lower Hutt.

Imagine if there was always somewhere to fill your water bottle when out in the community. 

Stay in touch

To find out more about Healthy Families Lower Hutt or share your success stories with us, look us up on Facebook or check out our website. 
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Healthy Families Lower Hutt · Pelorus Sportshouse, Seaview, Hutt Park · Lower Hutt, Wgtn 5010 · New Zealand

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