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.