Healthy Families Waitakere have been influencing local boards in West Auckland to consider how they support improved access to water in public places for the West Auckland community.

As a result, Whau Local Board prioritised funding for the installation of six water fountains in six parks that currently do not have public access to water. To ensure this investment is effective, Healthy Families Waitakere worked alongside the Auckland Council Parks Department and the sports clubs situated on the parks to agree on the positioning of the fountain.

There are over 3350 members across the six clubs and many were consulted around the location of the fountains to be placed in areas of high foot traffic. Local residents were also asked to contribute to the designs of the fountains to showcase local art and maintain the appeal to community.

Tua Raroa, Chairperson at Western Magpies Softball Club says he is excited that a fountain will be installed to support the community using Brains Park to have access to drinking water.  With around 500 people using the fields, parks, playground and courts on any given competition day, this will support the clubs’ pro water position.

“This aligns with our focus on 'water as best choice’ when playing sport and as a result of the fountain, we believe we will see less fizz coming to the park and filling our bins”, he says.

Installing water fountains to create healthier and sustainable sporting environments is spreading into other communities. Waitemata Rugby Football Club in Henderson is also demonstrating ways to increase access to free drinking water by installing a water bottle filler on the exterior of their building and holding a competition across their junior teams to design messaging around being pro water, including a mural.

Healthy Families Waitakere Manager Kerry Allan says the water fountains will reinforce positive messaging about the importance being able to access water for our communities when they are being active.

“With only 45% of adults in the Waitemata region being a healthy weight, it has never been more important to make sports clubs part of the solution”, she says.