Sports clubs and codes across Waitakere are leading the charge in the movement to make water the drink of choice for their community.

Te Atatu Roosters Rugby League Club Chairman Brian O’Shea sits on the Healthy Families Waitakere Strategic Leadership Group and has a deep understanding of the needs of the league community. He saw the opportunity to be the first rugby league club to become a health promoting environment and promoting water as the best choice became part of it.

Brian signed the Healthy Families Waitakere water pledge agreeing to promote water as a first option for tamariki and to motivate others to do the same. The pledge reinforces the activities already happening at the club which sees more than 500 players and supporters coming through the doors.

He and his team at Te Atatu Roosters Rugby League Club changed the placement of water bottles to be more visible, and provided a water dispenser for children to help themselves. Since making these simple changes, they have seen an increase in sales and consumption of water.

The movement is greater than one code and is spreading into other communities. Waitemata Seagulls Rugby League Club in Ranui also changed the placement of water bottles to be more visible in their canteen, and reduced the price to $1.00. They too, have seen an increase in sales and consumption of water.

Suburbs Rugby Club in New Lynn installed a water cooler that was donated to the club situated it away from the bar giving children and players easy access to water at any time.

One of the key success factors for the water pledge is that the same kaupapa and messaging around water is flowing over into other settings and sectors, led not just by Healthy Families Waitakere but by our strategic leaders too.

Image: Chairman Brian O’Shea standing next to their fridge fill of water at Te Atatu Roosters Rugby League Club