Hāpai Te Hauora congratulates the Ngā Kaihoe o Aotearoa (Waka Ama New Zealand) for its commitment to Māori wellbeing during the national championship festival.

First established in 2000, this year will be the 30th year for the festival, and it’s sixth year as a ‘fizz free’ event.

Hāpai’s regional public health team will be in attendance at the festival held during the week of the 14th to 19th of January 2019. General Manager Janell Dymus-Kurei says the festival is a highlight every year, and that Hāpai is proud to support a positive pro-Māori event.

"This event is a great example of leadership in Māori health. The organisers have shown a strong commitment to oranga tinana through the promotion of physical activity which is embedded in te ao Māori." Dymus-Kurei continues "Through the adoption of a ‘fizz free’ stance, the festival also highlights the importance of the availability of water - wai Māori - to all whānau across the motu. Water quality and the availability of clean water for drinking, swimming and play for our whānau has been a topical issue in Aotearoa in recent years and we strongly advocate for the protection of this valuable resource."

The national championship event comes at a time when the role of sugary beverages in poor health outcomes are again being questioned. The New Zealand Dental Association (NZDA) this week called upon the government to introduce labelling regulations which would ensure consumers are aware of how much sugar was in each drink.

"We support this call by the NZDA for better labelling of beverages," says Selah Hart, COM of Hāpai. "As a signatory to the NZDA-led consensus statement on sugary drinks, we appreciate the importance of good information for whānau when it comes to making choices about food and drinks. Tamariki Māori suffer disproportionately from the consequences of drinking sugary beverages and it’s often unclear to parents which drinks are healthy, and which should be treat drinks only. We believe stricter labelling regulations, in tandem with efforts like those of the waka ama championship organisers and increased availability of safe, clean water, will help convince whānau to choose wai Māori."


What: National Waka Ama Championships 2019

Where: Lake Karapiro

When: Rāhina 14 Kohitātea - Rāhoroi 19 Kohitātea

Consensus statement on sugary drinks here