Ka Ora, Ka Ako policy pathways project

The Ka Ora, Ka Ako programme was rolled out in a short timeframe and there was little time to consider the multiple ripple effects for the child, whānau, school, community and wider food system. For example, there was no work done initially on the engagement of Ka Ora, Ka Ako with the curriculum or mātauranga Māori; however, the Ministry of Education is now actively considering how to achieve this as the programme evolves. There is evidence from similar universal school food programmes around the world showing the multiple potential impacts such initiatives can have at these different levels of impact, and over time. The first phase of the policy pathways project gathered this international evidence, alongside recent Ka Ora, Ka Ako programme research and consultation with key government agencies, to take stock of the programme’s progress to date, and what else it could plausibly achieve over time. This interim report was shared with the Ministry of Education in November 2022 to inform its Budget bid for ongoing funding in the May 2023 Budget. 

Findings from this first phase showed that Ka Ora, Ka Ako is like a big stone thrown into the food system pond – it is already causing ripples, but can these be amplified through wider policy action to get even greater impact? While the Ministry’s website names six areas of potential impact, officials are realising that there are several further areas of flow-on effects that could be enhanced with policies. Examples include: Child nutritional health, Whānau food security, School engagement, Environmental sustainability, Food systems resilience, Government food procurement, Employment and business. The second phase of the policy pathways project works with stakeholders to identify how, through further investment, Ka Ora, Ka Ako can achieve these greater societal and food system benefits.