Poutoko: Major Projects Hunger and Poverty (SDGs 1,2)

An update by Dr Amber Hammill, Kai Challenge Activator

Three things to update on this newsletter for the Kai Challenge enthusiasts.

Kai Challenge Update

We have started work with Te Ngira on baselining our knowledge of hunger and food (in)security for the region. The Waikato Wellbeing Project is pursuing a goal that “Our children can thrive because none are hungry at school or cold at home. They can afford to participate in social, artistic, cultural and sporting activities”.

At present, we have no comprehensive, reliable indicators identified to track progress towards this goal in the region. There are numerous reports and measures of child poverty and food security nationally, but data at a regional level is difficult to come by. We are working with Te Ngira to understand how we can best make this regional assessment going forward. We anticipate releasing this report in June, so stay tuned for an invitation to an online launch.


Over the last couple of months councils around the region have been consulting on their long-term plans (LTP). Local councils might not seem like the most obvious actors in the food system, but both city and district councils can have substantial impacts on local food environments. Councils, after all, have influence over where food is grown and produced, how and where it can be prepared and sold, what happens to food waste, as well as the food councils are responsible for buying and selling themselves.

To this end, the WWP has contributed to joint submissions to some of the councils’ long term plans with a host of community organisation partners (see later story). Being able to join our voices in this way is a huge asset in terms of supporting one another and having our voices heard. In addition, the Kai Challenge submitted separately to the Hamilton City Council LTP urging them to consider approaching food security for our city in a strategic way. They are already doing heaps of work on food, but by co-ordinating their efforts they could better support their own goals. You can read the full submission [AH1] later in this newsletter and Amber will be speaking to the submission on Wednesday 15 May at 3:55pm. I’d love to see you there!

National Science Challenge

The National Science Challenges are wrapping up in June this year, rounding out several years’ worth of research initiatives. One of these Challenges, Our Land and Water | Toitū te Whenua, Toiora te Wai, has been hosting a series of regional engagement events to report on various aspects of the work. Healthy land and water are essential to a functional food system, so the opportunity to learn more about this research was great for the Kai Challenge. I was able to get to the events at Karapiro and at Maramarua recently and have been super impressed with the breadth of topics covered. There were some particularly thought-provoking pieces of work that I wanted to tautoko. Head over to the blog  to check out my selection.