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Opinion

‘Healthy lunch only’ Wednesdays for Penrhyn students

Saturday 27 August 2022 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Local, National

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‘Healthy lunch only’ Wednesdays for Penrhyn students
Penrhyn schools are tackling the health of their children. Pictured is a school lunch consisting of uto, katia e te ota maroro (flying fish). Picture: APII NAPA/22082606.

The northern island Penrhyn schools of Omoka and Tetautua are tackling the health of their children in earnest with its ‘healthy lunch only’ policy on Wednesdays.

School principal Apii Napa said: “The policy for Penrhyn schools in healthy local foods is very clear.”

Rice, flour and sugary foods which are staples of the islands in the north are banned on Wednesdays along with junk food.

A survey was conducted which confirmed that there was sufficient locally grown foods which are healthy and available in Penrhyn.

Every Wednesdays since the start of Term 3, an amazing 100 per cent of the island’s students are abiding to the policy attending school with healthy locally grown lunches. On every other day of the week the students may take along lunches of their choice.

Parents are asked to support the healthy lunch programme.

“I think what is important in what we are doing is that we are valuing our culture, our children’s health and most importantly their education,” said Napa.

“We’re not only helping our children with their health, we’re also reaching out to the homes and helping them economically,” she said.

The teachers monitor and record their students’ lunches which is gathered for evidence towards awards to keep the kids encouraged to eat healthy.

Acknowledgement and rewards, including the Principal’s Award, are given to students who consistently bring healthy local foods to school every Wednesday.

There are no discussions whatsoever if a child brings along other foods which are not healthy, “they just miss the opportunity for an award”, said Napa.

The schools’ healthy food policy was endorsed by the Parent Teacher Association (PTA), and the schools and local communities. It also applies to teachers.