It’s been a busy month for the Healthy Families Far North whānau who are supporting and holding spaces in different kaupapa around the motu.

Want to know more? Here’s a snapshot of some of the mahi we’ve been involved with in and around the rohe.

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Kai Sovereignty

How can we better support food security and resilience in Whangaroa?

Kaumatua and kuia of Whangaroa have come together to share mātauranga from their upbringing, to better understand how we can support food security and resilience in the wider rohe.

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The kai wānanga was held as part of a project in collaboration with Whangaroa Health Services Trust (WHST), MahitahiŌnuku and Te Rūnanaga o Whaingaroa (TROW), to build a more food secure and resilient Whangaroa 

We recognise that our tupuna had incredible knowledge, values and practices that enabled them to be food secure and resilient, and our local kaumatua and kuia are holders to much of that knowledge.

Māori Systems Innovator Elizabeth Motu said understanding the lived experiences and knowledge of kaumatua and kuia is critical for future generations.


Edible Playground

Testing continues for Whangaroa’s new edible playground, a community-led initiative that supports a food secure and resilient rohe.

Healthy Families Far North are trialing concepts around an outside classroom, where whānau can connect with the environment by way of māra kai and māra hūpara.

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Our key learnings found that tamariki and parents were naturally drawn to planting and getting their hands dirty. We found their relationship with seedlings continued post testing while increasing interest in māra kai. At the same time, tamariki were also aware of the existing playground in Kaeo.

From here we’ve tested a sowing machine at the Kaeo playground which had a positive response where tamariki were engaged and liked the added element to the playground.

Our next step is to build a robust prototype and to continue testing in various playgrounds around Te Tai Tokerau, to enable opportunities to plant and grow in spaces where play infrastructure already exists. 

Edible playground progress


Kai Systems

Healthy Families Far North have been talking with Māori food businesses in Te Tai Tokerau to understand their experiences working with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) food control plans and verification.

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How might we grow and foster support that businesses already seek out when going through the licensing process?

Our team held a workshop with MPI, Māori food businesses and the Far North District Council, to look at where and how changes can be made to ensure processes are more efficient.



Healthy Families Far North have an exciting opportunity to work alongside the community in designing a designated play area at the Kerikeri sports complex.

The team have been gathering insights at local sport trainings and tournaments, to understand how whānau and tamariki play. 

We’ve been learning more about the whakapapa and history of the rohe and how these pūrākau can be shared through play, including a return to traditional Māori games and māra hūpara.

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School Rules ki Hokianga

Our Systems Innovator Rawinia Everitt has been busy doing the mahi, connecting with communities and organisations to provide opportunities for our small rural kura.


School Rules ki Hokianga is a new inter-school competition that has been introduced as a result of the successful inaugural Rohe Wars launched in March.  

Over 300 students from five remote schools (Years 1-13) have come together to compete in a number of sports for the first time in three years, increasing physical activity, competitive sport and whakawhanaungatanga.


Healthy Environments Approach

Healthy Families Far North have adopted the Healthy Environments Approach (HEA) implemented by Healthy Families South Auckland and The Southern Initiative, to see health promoting principles embedded into our communities.

The HEA is based on four health principles that wai it the easiest choice, good kai is available for all, champion smokefree, alcohol and drug free environments and encourages movement.

The principles approach has been adopted and supported by all four South Auckland Local Boards (Manurewa, Papakura, Ōtara-Papatoetoe and Māngere- Ōtāhuhu) and have since been embedded into Local Board funded events and Auckland Council facilities including community grants, leisure centres, community facilities (leases) and community places.

Encouraged by their success, Healthy Families Far North are building relationships with community groups in Te Tai Tokerau to take on the HEA.

The team has been working with Kerikeri Netball and the canteen manager to improve the nutritional value of kai provided by the canteen – impacting over 1500 children, youth, adults.

Changes have already been adopted with a reduction of unhealthy kai being sold and the price of water being reduced by 50c. Additionally, four healthier options which meet the MOH Eating and Activity Guidelines have been added to the menu.



Our Lead Systems Innovator Phill Grimshaw has been connecting and working alongside Te Rūnanga o Whaingaroa Social Services Whānau Support Team Tauhapai.

Phil was lucky enough to be invited to their wānanga at Wainui marae earlier this month, to get an understanding of their roles and responsibilities at the coalface of whānau Support. 

From a Healthy Families perspective, the opportunity to sit, listen and learn was awesome and I can’t wait for both of our teams to come together to further cement our whakawhanaungatanga," he said.

"Big ups to Rima Witanga (also Rita and Ali) for facilitating the wānanga, especially with the vast experience they bring from their mahi at Waitomo Papakainga Development in Kaitaia."

Phil is also working alongside Te Rūnanga o Whaingaroa to develop a wellbeing policy that better supports the hauora of its staff.

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Lastly, ngā mihi to our whanaunga in Tāmaki: The Cause Collective, Healthy Families South Auckland and The Southern Initiative (TSI), for hosting Healthy Families Far North and Te Ngira to talk about the different kaupapa happening across our different Healthy Families locations. As a collective, we have a common goal that all our communities enjoy good health and wellbeing enabled by cultural, social and physical environment. It was an awesome way to end the month where we could share, support and awhi each other in our mahi and to get different thoughts, ideas and perspectives around the table moving forward.