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.

Have a fresh feast for well-balanced celebrations

5+ A Day media release: 24th November 2023

Avoid over-indulging and bring some balance to your Christmas celebrations this year by including colourful fresh fruit and vegetables to brighten up – and lighten up – your festive dishes.

5+ A Day Charitable Trust is encouraging Kiwis to keep their Christmas dishes simple by using fresh, in-season produce to help you feel good heading into the New Year.

5+ A Day Trustee and Principal Scientist and Team Leader at Plant and Food Research, Dr Carolyn Lister, says the festive season can lead to eating too much of the wrong types of foods.

“We often have the tendency to eat lots of energy-dense foods that are lacking in nutrients,” she says. “Seasonal fruit and vegetables like blueberries, strawberries, cherries, tomatoes, iceberg lettuce, avocados and asparagus contain a whole range of vitamins and minerals to help your body use that energy more effectively and keep you going in the end-of-year rush.”

Dr Lister says the trick is to find an equilibrium. “Don’t deny yourself some treats over the festive season but just make sure to balance them with plenty of colourful fruit and vegetables.”

Snacking on strawberries, blueberries and cherries is a good pick-me-up. Pile them onto your platters or whip up a fresh fruit salad to have with that slice of pavlova. Both blueberries and strawberries are a source of dietary fibre and contain vitamin C.

“The last thing you want to do is be sick during the holidays so make sure you are eating lots of foods high in vitamin C and folate to keep your immune system healthy,” Dr Lister explains.

It’s also easy to add ingredients like asparagus and avocado to your salads alongside traditional staples such as tomatoes and lettuce. A Caprese salad looks especially festive, with layers of tomato, basil and fresh mozzarella cheese, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil or a balsamic glaze.

Greens like lettuce, avocado and asparagus are also sources of folate which is critical for healthy cell growth and function.

“Get inventive with your salad combinations. Colourful fresh produce on a plate looks incredibly festive and will leave you feeling energised and upbeat so you’re ready to welcome 2024 with a healthy body and healthy mind.”

Promoting nutrition in education and community settings

Promote nutrition in community and education settings has a direct impact on the health and motivation of those involved, including staff, and children or students.

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


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

NZ Food Network media release: 16th October 2023

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.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 the next 12 months.

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).

Nourishing Futures with Better Kai

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 Christchurch and Canterbury

Te Mana Ora | Community and Public Health has an advisory role with 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:

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.



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.

Feeding your family for less or on a budget

Community and Public Health staff are also interested in addressing issues around access and availability of affordable food (food security). This involves working with disadvantaged groups such as those on low incomes and those living alone (especially men). If you are finding it hard to make your food budget stretch, then try one of the following menu plans for some new ideas.

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. 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).

Join the Fruit and Vegetable Co-op in greater Christchurch

The Fruit and Vegetable Co-op is now called Foodtogether. It operates as a stand-alone social enterprise in Christchurch and North Canterbury, and is supported by the Healthy Life Trust.

There are also other fruit and vegetable co-operatives in Christchurch such as the:

Page last updated: 24/11/2023

Copyright © 2023, Community & Public Health,