Healthy Families Whanganui Rangitīkei Ruapehu (HFWRR) and the Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) are celebrating the fact a number of school and community events across the region have chosen to become water only.
In the six months since the first water only event took place (the Paetamariki Primary Schools Kapa Haka competition run by Upokongaro School in September 2016), the Whanganui Rangitīkei Ruapehu Region has seen increasing numbers of event planners opting for water only.
WDHB nutrition and physical activity health promoter Karney Herewini is applauding the response.
“The work that’s been undertaken with water only schools has highlighted an opportunity for the water only initiative to extend outside of the school gates,” Mr Herewini says. “It’s great to see our community being proactive about making the healthier choice easier for everyone.”
When access to water was identified as a key barrier for water only events, five water only events resource kits were developed and housed across the region by local community organisations.
“We wanted a solution that was simple, practical and accessible to people in our large geographic area,” says Healthy Families Whanganui Rangitīkei Ruapehu team leader Debbie-Jane Viliamu. ”Happily, the water only resource kits are being widely used.”
This year 26 events, with an estimated 6890 participants have used the resource kits which include four 20-litre water containers, water only signage and a table.
The kits have been used for events as big as the National Secondary Schools Triathlon Championships recently held in Whanganui, and as small as community celebrations for 50 people.
Water only resource kits housed in Ohakune, Taihape, Marton and Whanganui can be booked online via the HFWRR website.
Event planners can also find a water only event tip sheet, key messages and the water only logos that can be downloaded to further support their event.
“Feedback on the resource kits from event organisers has been very good so far,” Mr Herewini says. “They’re being put to good use, rubbish has decreased, and the fact that we’re providing a free, healthy alternative to the sugar-sweetened beverages traditionally associated with many of our events is viewed as a real positive.”