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Our vision: Lower Hutt – NZ’s healthiest people

Ripple effect as Hutt chooses to 'Go the H2O'

Sports clubs and codes across the Hutt are leading the charge in the movement to Go the H2O and make water their drink of choice.

Hayley Goodin, Healthy Families Lower Hutt Manager says “When we choose water, we’re not drinking sweet drinks which can contribute to obesity and the preventable chronic diseases that are impacting our communities.”

Summer sports champions Total Touch Wellington led the way. Overcoming the poor access to water at the parks was essential to putting their pro water kaupapa into action. Healthy Families Lower Hutt worked with Hutt City Council to get a portable hydration station that can be used by all park users.

“The hydration station is a smart option to make water cool again! ItHutt Intermediate player refills her drinkbottle at hydration station resized makes it easy to get clean, fresh and free water. The way it looks as well as the way it works really engages the tamariki, they can’t wait for their turn to fill up their drink bottles” says Bronwyn Jahnke from Total Touch.

“Total Touch also educated our referees to back up the pro water message. Refs now know they can’t drink their fizzy or sports drinks in front of our tamariki.” Total Touch have made changes in their player of the day vouchers and prize giving goodie bags too, getting rid of the take away vouchers and fizzy drinks. As acknowledgement of their pro water stance, Total Touch can access pool passes to any Hutt City Council pool for their player of the day rewards.

That was a great start but a movement is bigger than one code, in one setting. A movement spills over into other codes, settings and communities.

This is exactly what happened when Wellington Rugby League joined the movement. Building on their existing ‘Be a Sport’ campaign, Wellington Rugby League actively promotes their water messages at all their junior fixtures. Having a pro water kaupapa meant Junior Rugby League players were also rewarded with player of the day pool passes.

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Being a regional competition, Healthy Families Lower Hutt and its partners invited Wellington, Upper Hutt and Porirua City Councils to provide access to their pools too.

"This initiative started with one touch module in one Council zone. Now it’s spread to four Councils and multiple codes and clubs.We’re excited that pool passes as a reward for demonstrating a pro water kaupapa is spreading wider than our region, with other Healthy Families NZ sites, Councils and districts exploring how this can work in their areas” says Hayley Goodin.

One of the key success factors for Go the H2O is that the same kaupapa and messaging is flowing over into other settings and sectors, led not just by Healthy Families Lower Hutt but by our prevention partners and colleagues too:

  • Schools now have a regional Water-only Schools toolkit available to them.
  • Council has committed to events they fund being pro water as well as prompting community event organisers to actively look at taking up the kaupapa through event funding documentation.
  • Council facilities and venues don’t sell sweet drinks and free water is available.
  • Council will be installing at least six more drinking fountains into community spaces, parks and town centres this year.

More young people from the Hutt can now Go the H2O at school, when they play sport, at events and when they use any Council facility.

 Imagine if there was no demand for sweet drinks from our young people because water is the normal and desired drink of choice.