Young people in South Auckland are leading the charge to increase the accessibility and uptake of wai in places where they learn, live and hang out.
What we eat and drink plays a large part in our health and wellbeing, so getting to the bottom of our community's attitudes to wai has been a key focus for Healthy Families Manukau, Manurewa-Papakura.
In Mangere, the team are working with Mangere College, a local high school and the local Mangere East library to understand what youth think about wai and what barriers exist for wai to become the preferred drink in the places where they spend their time.
An example of success has been addressing perceptions at Mangere College that water fountains are dirty and, their poor situation near toilet blocks. Students at the school have taken the lead and are developing ideas and prototypes to create a more appealing, water-promoting environment on site.
The approach is drawing interest from a number of other local schools who are keen to implement student-directed initiatives around wai.
Joined by Mangere's 'Do Good Feel Good' youth leadership movement, the next phase of the work will be led by the community's young people.
It will also provide the opportunity for young people to understand and develop sustainable solutions to the issues around sugar sweetened beverages commonly found in our school communities.
“The design approach encourages young people to become change agents by giving them a voice in determining how to create better places for themselves and others to live," says Tapuvakai Vea. "We are using a co-design platform to ensure young people develop the skills needed to make sound decisions for contributing to positive community change."
Caption: Young leaders from Mangere's Do Good Feel Good movement.