Haka chal­lenge for wa­ter in schools


Ma¯ ori stu­dents have is­sued a stir­ring chal­lenge for schools to ditch sug­ary drinks.

In a pow­er­ful haka, stu­dents at the coun­try’s first Ma¯ ori lan­guage-im­mer­sion school called on schools to switch to wa­ter-only.

Stu­dents from Te Kura Kau­papa Ma¯ori o Hoani Waititi Marae in West Auck­land per­formed the haka for guests on Oc­to­ber 31.

Year 13 stu­dent Tuake Po­hatu Ry­der, who com­posed the haka, said his aim was to let ev­ery­one know that drink­ing wa­ter is healthy.

The school’s wa­ter-only pol­icy was part of the Healthy Fam­i­lies Waita¯ kere ini­tia­tive to pro­mote wa­ter as the first choice for schools.

TKK Ma¯ori o Hoani Waititi Marae prin­ci­pal Hare Rua said obe­sity and di­a­betes was a chal­lenge in the Ma¯ ori com­mu­nity. He said he hoped other schools, es­pe­cially Ma¯ ori schools, took up the chal­lenge to choose wa­ter only.

‘‘With soft drinks be­ing so cheap it’s easy to take that as the first and best op­tion. We need to get rid of those coke and soft drink ma­chines and choose a health­ier op­tion for our chil­dren.’’

One in nine chil­dren are obese, but the rate rises to one in seven for Ma¯ ori chil­dren, ac­cord­ing to the Min­istry of Health. The Gov­ern­ment was en­cour­ag­ing all schools to switch to wa­ter-only.


The haka chal­lenge was to all New Zealand schools to choose wa­ter as the best op­tion for stu­dents.

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