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Report highlights successes of Healthy Families NZ initiative

Report highlights successes of Healthy Families NZ initiative

The Ministry of Health welcomes the recently-published Healthy Families NZ Summative Evaluation Report that highlights what’s working well and where change is needed to make the Healthy Families NZ initiative more effective and more equitable.

New public water fountains increase access to water for all

New public water fountains increase access to water for all

Park users in parts of West Auckland will have increased access to fresh water with the installation of five new water fountains over the next month.

The investment in the new fountains has been a priority for the Whau Local Board, which contributed funding to the project last year. 

The fountains will be installed in popular parks, including some where sports clubs are located.  These include Brains Park, Sister Rene Shadbolt Park, Eastdale Reserve, Lawson Park and Blockhouse Bay Recreational Reserve.

The Whau Local Board has worked alongside Healthy Families Waitakere to engage with the park and sports club users, as well as community members regularly using the facilities, for recommendations on where the fountains should be placed, in high traffic areas.

“We consulted with the local sports clubs involved to determine the best location for these fountains.  These clubs are increasingly promoting water as the best choice of drink for their members while playing sport and giving users access to fresh drinking water is a critical part of this,” says Healthy Families Waitakere Manager Kerry Allan.

Healthy Families Waitakere has been working across West Auckland to help different sectors of the community – including schools, clubs, workplaces and recreational facilities – to tackle sugary drink intake, and ultimately drive the consumption of water. 

“The placement of these fountains in public parks, where people are playing, exercising and socialising, is another important step to increasing access to fresh water – and helping our community make it their drink of choice,” adds Ms Allan. 

Whau Local Board Chair Tracy Mulholland says the Board is committed to the ongoing investment in water fountains as part of the rejuvenation of local parks, gardens and reserves alongside other work, such as the development of new paths and cycleways.

“A key focus for our board is to support more active and healthier lifestyles and the installation of water fountains helps encourage people to get out and use our parks and open spaces for recreational purposes,” she says.

“These spaces are backyards for everyone and we are proud to work with Healthy Families Waitakere and, also, to commit more funding to this project for 2018/19.”

The new fountains will include both fountains and bottle fillers, and some will also include dog drinking trays.

As part of West Auckland’s pro water movement, a number of local leaders including politicians, school principals, councillors and primary healthcare organisations are joining others in signing the Healthy Families Waitakere water pledge.  The pledge is a social movement to creative more health promoting environments where water is the first and best choice for all.