Ka Ora, Ka Ako Work Modelling

Ka Ora, Ka Ako provides nearly 55,500 nutritious lunches per week to rangatahi in the Hawke’s Bay. But it is also a major disruptor of the food system in that it is now is one of the largest buyers of fresh produce in the country. The primary goal of Ka Ora, Ka Ako is to reduce food insecurity and this Systems Model will explore whether the programme can play a role in addressing the root causes of food insecurity, alongside its role in providing great school lunches. The sheer size of the programme means it has the potential to have a significant positive impact.  

The Phase 1 model will model Ka Ora, Ka Ako and captures how the programme currently works. To do this, we will utilise the knowledge of subject-matter experts from the Ministry of Education, schools, Iwi and suppliers, as well as data collected from a diverse set of Ka Ora, Ka Ako providers. These will cover primary and secondary schools, internal and external providers, small and large schools, urban and rural schools.

The Phase 2 model will explore a range of policy pathways emerging from the literature, the model building process, and potential policies highlighted by the subject-matter experts.  We are most interested in exploring the policies that go beyond our students to a broader focus on the context in which they live, and the root causes of their food insecurity. 

The overarching research question that will drive this phase 2 model is:

  • Food Security: Is Ka Ora, Ka Ako, able to play a role in improving food security, beyond improving nutrient intake during school lunches and if so, what is the contribution of mātauranga Māori?

Under this overarching question are three more detailed questions linked to key concepts:  

  • Food sovereignty: Can Ka Ora, Ka Ako be redesigned so that the local community has greater control over the all the stages within the food value chain?
  • Food citizenship: Can Ka Ora, Ka Ako involve students, beyond their role as consumers of what is put in front of them, and support them to become more knowledgeable and active food citizens?
  • Sustainable Community Food Systems: Can Ka Ora, Ka Ako, play a role in supporting the development of local, self-reliant food systems?

The Ka Ora, Ka Ako simulation model is a system dynamics (SD) model for exploring interventions to improve the wellbeing of rangatahi in the Hawke’s Bay. Since the 1970s, researchers have employed SD models to explore many areas of public health and social policy.