Promoting environments that foster healthy eating

Strengthening community and reducing health inequities is one of the ways that Te Mana Ora | Community and Public Health aims to improve the health and wellbeing of the people in our region. We do this by providing education, taking a system-based approach and advocating policies that make the healthy choice the easy choice.

Specific work is focussed on actions and outcomes to create change in food, nutrition and physical activity environments and behaviours, such as increasing access to food (food security).

Te Mana Ora | Community and Public Health staff work towards creating nutrition environments that foster and enable healthy eating, along with resources that support actions to reduce poor nutrition that may result in chronic disease. The key messages for a healthy lifestyle include:

  • Eat a variety of nutritious foods.
  • Eat more vegetables and fruits.
  • Eat less processed foods that are often fatty, salty, and sugary.
  • Exclusively breastfeed infants for six months where possible, and introduce complementary foods while breastfeeding continues for at least one year and beyond.
  • Be active every day for at least 30 minutes in as many ways as possible.
  • Add some vigorous exercise and resistance for extra benefit and fitness.
  • Aim to maintain a healthy weight throughout life.
  • Promote and foster the development of environments that support healthy lifestyles.

Advice on healthy lifestyles for adults, children and teenagers

Eating well, drinking plenty of water, being active and getting enough quality sleep are key elements to help support a healthy lifestyle. Other factors include increasing your energy levels, supporting mental health, and maintaining the activities of daily living.

Promoting nutrition in education and community settings

Promoting positive food and drink messages and influencing food environments in community and education settings has a direct impact on the health and motivation of those involved, including staff, students and the wider community.

Current work by Te Mana Ora | Community and Public Health staff includes:

  • supporting education settings with their edible gardens and orchards;
  • helping education settings to develop food and drink policies;
  • assisting education settings to become Water Only Schools;
  • resourcing kaiako in early childhood settings around oral health issues such as tooth-friendly kai and drinks;
  • encouraging early childhood settings to be breastfeeding friendly;
  • supporting community groups with nutrition resources;
  • working collaboratively with communities to build strong and resilient food systems and increase food security; and
  • providing expertise to help community organisations and councils develop and implement food and drink policies.


Can you Add One More Vegetable? A daily challenge to all kiwis

Shows the vegetables available in Aotearoa New Zealand during the months of Autumn - Ngahuru. Source: matter what your usual intake of vegetables is now, do you think you can add one more?

The Ministry of Health recommends we eat five servings of vegetables (or more) every day for good health. While some people do hit the mark, many don’t meet this recommendation. and 5+ a Day are encouraging more kiwis can increase their vegetable intake, by adding another handful or two every day.

Even just one more serve is a great result. Start small and build up.

If you need a reason to get one more, think about all the great benefits that come with eating more vegetables:

  • Lots of vegetables have plenty of vitamin C – great for immune health.
  • Many are packed with fibre and that’s going to make your gut happy. And did you know – a happy gut can mean a happy mood too?
  • They fill us up and have lots of B vitamins – good for energy;
  • Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables can even help reduce risk of coronary heart disease (remember to eat a well-balanced diet with a wide variety of wholesome foods);

That’s not to mention how tasty, crunchy and colourful they are in your meals!

Remember to shop in season for great value freshly grown vegetables.

Nourishing Futures with Better Kai

Te Mana Ora | Community and Public Health West Coast developed this resource for parents of toddlers and young children.

This booklet is designed to help parents with all things nutrition for their little one, to set them up for healthy habits throughout their life.

Helping to create healthier workplaces

Current initiatives in workplaces are focussed on assisting workplaces in the development of wellness programmes.
There is growing evidence that comprehensive workplace health promotion programs are cost effective and improve employee health. Identified benefits include increased employee satisfaction and retention, and decreased absenteeism and injuries on the job.

Te Mana Ora | Community and Public Health has developed a framework that is flexible and easily adapted to suit the needs of an organisation. The framework consists of a step-by-step process with several different elements to create a tailored health promotion programme. This approach has been shown to increase morale in the workplace as employees work together to meet the challenges of adopting a healthy lifestyle.

Working to improve food resilience in Canterbury

Te Mana Ora | Community and Public Health has an advisory role with Food Secure North Canterbury and the Food Resilience Network (FRN). The Network is the home of Edible Canterbury – a movement advocating for healthy and strengthened communities by:

  • supporting existing local food producers;
  • encouraging and educating for more locally grown food; and
  • fostering relationships with key players in the food system to build a healthy resilient Canterbury.

A key project for the Food Resilience Network is the development of Ōtākaro Orchard. This will be a highly accessible, engaging, and unique orchard and garden in central Christchurch. The completed space will show sustainable and organic food systems in practice and build on its history as a place to gather mahinga kai.

Te Mana Ora | Community and Public Health is also a signatory to the Edible Canterbury Charter.

Food forests cropping up in Canterbury

A community food forest provides an abundance of food for residents and those that wish to visit to gather – fruits, vegetables, herbs and medicinal plants by way of a layered permaculture companion planting system.

Part of Tarndale Park in Hanmer Springs has been set aside for a community-led food forest with support from the Kaiapoi Food Forest Trust.

A food forest is proposed for the Birdsey Reserve in the Heathcote Valley.

Existing food forests in Canterbury include:

Working to improve food resilience on the West Coast

Te Mana Ora | Community and Public Health facilitates and coordinates the West Coast Food Security Network. This network that aims to strengthen relationships and collaboration between organisations and agencies to improve food security for the communities on the Coast.



For more information, contact:

Bek Parry
Ph: +64 3 364 1777

Ph: +64 3 307 6902

Andrea Grant
Ph: +64 3 687 2600

Beyning Tey
Ph: +64 3 768 1160

Contacts for individual or specialist nutrition support and advice

Registered Dietitians and Nutritionists help people to improve their health and lifestyle through optimal nutrition.

Pitch In: Donate funds or bulk food donations to fill Eden Park

The NZ Food Network (NZFN) wants to ‘virtually fill’ Auckland’s iconic Eden Park rugby field, with enough food (and essential items) to provide 100,000 meals to those in need over in 2024.

100 percent of the donations will go towards feeding Kiwis in need via NZFN’s 64 nationwide recipient Food Hubs.

They are calling on businesses and individuals to donate either bulk food, household essentials or money to help reach the goal. Donate now and help fill the pitch!

A simple pricing structure will be used to make it easy and meaningful to donate, and see the impact of each donation. A $25 donation = 10 meals, $50 = 20 meals etc.

You can Pitch In, in any way you can! Sign up for a one-time or monthly donation, bring your team on board, and help to spread the word to rally up donations! You have the power to make a real difference for Kiwi communities doing it tough, and help get food where it’s needed most!

NZFN will provide 100,000 meals to Kiwis in need every time the pitch is filled from one end to the other.

A recent NZFN survey showed that there has been a 20 percent increase in demand for food support between January to June 2023 – compared to July to December 2022. The rising cost of living was a top reason for recipients seeking food support, followed by low household or individual income due to low-paying jobs (65 percent) and unexpected bills or expenses (53 percent).

A rugby ball with the Pitch In logo leaning up against a pile of boxes labelled New Zealand Food Network on the pitch of Eden Park.

Affordable kai on a budget

Te Mana Ora | Community and Public Health staff are interested in addressing issues around access and availability of affordable food – known as food security. Contact your local office about how we work in this area.

He Kai Kei Aku Ringa – He Kai has recipe cards and a series of short films which follow five whānau as they share their broad understandings of the whakataukī “he kai kei aku ringa” and how they practise this in their everyday lives. You can also download a 4-week meal plan to support you and your whānau as your personal relationships with food evolve and grow.

The Heart Foundation also produces two cookbooks of nutritious recipes on a budget:

Puāwai-Kai: A lifestyle education and cooking programme

Puāwai-Kai is the FREE group lifestyle education and cooking programme in Waitaha | Canterbury. The new programme takes the best from the previously run Appetite for Life and Senior Chef courses.

The programme has been developed with feedback from primary care professionals and following nine pilot courses with a wide range of Cantabrians including Māori, Pasifika, men, seniors, and migrant communities.

Participants learn how small changes in the way they live can add up to a big change in health.

GPs and practice nurses can make referrals by phoning the Puāwai Healthy Lifestyle team (0800 333 405).

Fruit and Vegetable Co-ops in greater Christchurch

There are several fruit and vegetable co-operatives in Christchurch, including:

Page last updated: 20/05/2024

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