He Kai Oranga

He Kai Oranga was an equity response initiative aimed at improving nutrition and wellbeing for Māori with chronic health conditions in the Hawke’s Bay community. This programme, part of a wider open-access clinic funded by HBDHB (now Te Whatu Ora), was designed to address inequities in access to primary healthcare services. It utilised a kaupapa Māori approach, emphasising the importance of mātauranga Māori, whānau engagement, and traditional kai. The programme successfully implemented community-based health initiatives that supported sustainable change and enhanced wellbeing.

Despite challenges such as Cyclone Gabrielle, He Kai Oranga continued to provide critical support, ensuring that nutritional wellbeing remained a priority for the community. Through this initiative, Māori were able to reconnect with the whakapapa of kai and re-establish traditional knowledge around growing, maintaining, collecting, and harvesting nutritious food from māra kai, moana, and whenua.

Nourishing Hawke’s Bay provided mātauranga Māori support to Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi-based groups of He Kai Oranga, helping them set up their individual programmes. The project also included an analysis of the theory for sustainable change in the rohe (areas), contributing valuable insights for future initiatives. He Kai Oranga’s legacy continues to inspire and guide efforts to address chronic health issues and promote health equity in the region, demonstrating the enduring impact of culturally-informed, community-centred health programmes.