Fourteen months from the last Covid lockdown and now facing life within another level 4 lockdown, parents across the far north region grapple with spaces for children to live, play and learn. Healthy Families Far North is co-designing with whānau and their communities to embrace outdoor learning and create more spaces for active movement.  

But also offer more outdoor education in this Covid world. We are stimulating our communities on planting and growing vegetables with whānau learning experiences that create fun places to learn and educational exercises linked to nature, such as maramataka, the Māori lunar calendar.

A growing body of evidence suggests children who spend more time playing and learning in high-quality green spaces experience improved physical and mental health, a closer connection with nature and develop more ‘environmentally friendly sustainable attitudes.

Paul Condron, Systems Innovator for Healthy Families Far North, said, “we know that to make lasting change, we have to involve tomorrow’s generation and inspire them to take action. We believe that consideration, as well as an understanding of our environment, can be realised during childhood and outdoor education.”

A great example of community partnership has resulted in The Bay of Islands-Whangaroa Community Board granting land use in the township of Kāeo, an excellent example of co-design in practice from the Healthy Families Far North crew. This initiative highlights that working together, we can improve physical activities – making learning about the environment fun and healthy fresh kai engagement for the next generation.

Thanks to Lead Systems Innovator Kath Keremete for allowing us to feature her tamariki in the lead-in image.