Happy New Year Healthy Families South Auckland

The team at Healthy Families South Auckland hopes that you had a restful, engaging and fulfilling Christmas and New Year spent with friends and family. We also hope that you took the time to reflect on the goals you set for 2018 and establish goals and potential milestones for 2019.

Last year Health Families South Auckland collaborated on many fantastic initiatives supporting health and wellbeing in the places we live, learn, work and play. Our team are excited to work with more community champions in 2019.

Looking to the Past as we Move Forward

A momentous step in the Healthy Families South Auckland landscape last year was supporting Papatuanuku Marae and their whanau to make water the easiest and most accessible drink while at the marae and school. Having already removed ‘fizzy drinks’, this was the next step forward in encouraging a health-promoting environment and add to their commitment of being a zero waste and Kai Oranga marae in South Auckland.

Māngere College led the way in their community around wai with the school’s Health Council inspiring and activating teachers and fellow students to make water the first-choice at school.  They worked with the Principal to hold a monthly only water day and the students also made a Pro Water video and created posters and activities to encourage water as the first and easiest choice.

The project team set a target to change at least 10 education settings into pro-water environments, by June 30, 2018 around 15 education places had come on board as pro-water environments. Amazing progress!

“We spent 2018 getting insights into what that looks like. The students came up with the environment and what that would look like. The key was to build the right environment so that the work and the initiatives can flourish. The environment must be right for this initiative,’’ says Systems Innovator Tracey Walker of Healthy Families South Auckland.

Healthy Families South Auckland insights also indicated that many schools were genuinely interested in becoming pro-water but did not know where to start. The Pro-Water Policy supported school leaders to understand what a realistic starting for them could be. Another key insight indicated that many of the early childhood education centres and schools practice some form of water care which made aligning to them the concept of water being the first choice easier.

Promoting Healthy Environments

Systems change work during the year also saw collaboration with Collective Impact – backbone a rapid collaboration and design challenge between Healthy Families South Auckland, Auckland Council Democracy Services and CAYAD as well as social design agencies The Southern Initiative – Auckland Council, and the Co-Design Lab, to explore ways to improve the Auckland alcohol licensing process with and for the South Auckland communities. The intention was to also improve the district licensing process to make it more equitable for communities and increase civic participation.

An area of highlight was around how to ensure that the hearings process is more accessible and inclusive of community members who can fully participate as well as ensuring communications make the District Licensing Committee Process easy to understand for the entire community.

Healthy Families South Auckland and our partners were struck by the lack of communication between agencies which has led to mixed levels of understanding and documentation of incidents. This negative impact may later be relevant to the hearing process; and community objectors expect active input from Ministry of Health and New Zealand Police in the hearing process.

Insights were also collected from the co-design process which led to an increased awareness and empathy by Auckland Council and other stakeholders of community members experience in participating in the District Licensing Committee process.

“Our intention in 2019 is to connect with multiple partners throughout the year including people and organisations in public health and across the system and to work collaboratively to reduce alcohol harm in the South Auckland community,’’ says Healthy Families South Auckland Lead Systems Innovator Nicola Ross.

An initial key aspect will be making communications accessible to the community and to make break down barriers of communication by making the District Licensing Committee hearings easy to understand for the community.

“We are keen to champion community voice to enable the community to feel empowered and equipped and mobilised to put pressure on the Government to look at wider alcohol legislation reform and to implement New Zealand Law Commissions recommendations to reduce harm to heavy drinkers by increasing tax and minimum unit pricing, and restricting alcohol sponsorship and advertising,’’ says Ms Ross.

Healthy kai, healthy communities

Another key initiative was the Food Hub Project which was in partnership with The Southern Initiative, Panuku Development Auckland, Auckland Teaching Gardens Trust, Manurewa Marae, and the Otara Papatoetoe Local Board.

This innovative community-based project aims to make healthy food more accessible and affordable to whanau in the community, by creating a hub in the community where people have cultural and social interactions, learn, share and try new concepts and ideas around food sustainability.

Key steps moving forward includes emphasis on engagement with community, building relationships, scope community led ideas to utilise the Food Hub, securing a kitchen, equipment, installation and chef to prototype an upcycling meal food concept.

We have so many amazing initiatives that are constantly moving and the team at Health Families South Auckland is empowered to accelerate these social change movements forward with our South Auckland communities.