East Cape marae look at healthier options for feeding guests

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has today launched Healthy Families East Cape at Te Poho o Rawiri Marae in Gisborne.

It’s the first community of 10 today to have the new government initiative which encourages people to live healthier lives by making good food choices and being active. $2.7 million is being invested into Healthy Families East Cape over four years.

The programme challenges communities to think differently about how to address the underlying causes of poor health at a local level. “Obesity is really threatening the futures of this generation of tamariki and mokopuna and we’ve got to make sure that we’re intervening in a way that makes sense to local communities” says Mr Coleman.

Te Whare Hauora o Te Aitanga a-Hauiti will be the leader provider for Healthy Families, but it’s going to take team work, so a total of eight eastern iwi are on board. Darryn White from Turanga Health says “Most of the communities parents are the role models and if they’re doing it then generally the kids want to follow”.

Catering for manuhiri is important to Maori culture, but today East Cape Health providers say more thought needs to go into food preparation. Albie Stewart, Kaiwhakahaere from Healthy Families NZ says “We’ve got to help ourselves, because so many of us are dying because of diabetes, cancer, what else can we do to prevent those diseases”.

Government funding of $40 million over four years will be invested in the project, with time hopefully a reduction in smoking, alcohol consumption, and smaller waistlines will be seen.