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Ka Pai Kai Healthy School Lunches
Ka Pai Kai South Waikato Incorporated

"It's a food revolution." Ka Pai Kai's vision is for the Waikato community to work together to build a sustainable food system where great food also means happy and healthy people. In the South Waikato, food insecurity is a reality. As a consequence, many children attend school without breakfast, lunch or even dinner the night before.

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Ka Pai Ki addresses this by delivering low-cost, nutritious lunches to 10 schools including three early childhood centres in Tokoroa in a sustainable enterprise model.

The Vital Waikato Grant will support Ka Pai Kai to develop their social enterprise, increasing the number of lunches delivered to children across the greater South Waikato district to 100% of all schools. The income from the social enterprise will be reinvested back into other social impact initiatives such as youth training, food recycling, and indigenous and pacific food networks.

Ka Pai Kai inspires families, schools and local organisations to connect and come together to find win-win solutions for the tamariki. Governed by a unique combination of local organisations with experts, practitioners and advocates from business, local and central government, education and social service providers, all working with local suppliers including the Tokoroa Community Garden.

This project will see Ka Pai Kai offering healthy lunches to all schools within the South Waikato District. The income from the social enterprise will enable a training café to educate and support at-risk-youth to transform their personal wellbeing and provide pathways to further training.

The shared vision ensures that children in the district have access to affordable food choices every day, and are learning how to make healthier choices for life. Believing that it takes a whole community to raise a happy healthy child, Ka Pai Kai dreams of all communities being able to provide healthy, nutritious food choices for their children into the future.

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Ngā Kaitiaki o Te Awa o Pūniu: Guardians of Pūniu River
Sustainable Coastlines Charitable Trust and Pūniu River Care Incorporated

"The restoration of the environment and its people, it doesn’t get much better than that." Imagining a future where all Waikato children can have access to rivers with safe places to swim and healthy water to drink, the partnership between Sustainable Coastlines and Pūniu River Care aims to plant 80 million native trees to enhance the waters and replenish the mauri (life force) of the Pūniu River catchment.

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The Vital Waikato Grant will assist a unique partnership where Sustainable Coastline’s knowledge and expertise will support Pūniu River Care’s passion and commitment to healthy waterways. The initiative will transform riparian restoration in the region – removing cost barriers to improving water quality and creating employment opportunities for the people in the Waikato who need it most.

The initiative aims to create a model where a marae-based social enterprise collaborates with local hapu, iwi, school groups and prisons to grow, nurture, sell and plant local, eco-sourced plants on their own land and in Department of Corrections prison within the river catchment.

With real-life leaning opportunities for hapu, prisoners and community service workers, the knowledge gained can be transferred to ‘real world’ jobs. The experiences will upskill hapu so they can become kaitiaki (guardians) of the natural environment and continue to inspire communities into the future, based on what they have learned.

This scalable, disruptive model has the potential to benefit the 440,000 people who call the Waikato region home. Through a simple economic efficiency and combination of social and environmental benefits, there is an opportunity to prove that a local, flax-roots project based in the Waikato can innovate and inform water quality projects across the region, nationwide and internationally.

By ‘open-sourcing’ and sharing knowledge and resources to provide ongoing support for new social enterprises in our region, the aim is to accelerate much needed change. How? By enabling communities throughout the Waikato to access resources and build a region-wide movement that creates safe places, healthy water, and healthy people for generations to come.

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Street Youth Work
Zeal Education Trust

“It is essential that young people know they have potential to be harnessed, and are not problems to be solved.” The Street Youth Work project in Hamilton responds directly to the needs of young people on the street, also responding to city authorities indicating significant youth crime and anti-social behaviour taking place in the central city.

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The Vital Waikato Grant funding will enable Zeal to work directly with Hamilton’s ‘overlooked’ young people – helping them gain skills and vocational opportunities that will transform their lives and the city around them.

In collaboration with Te Ahurei a Rangatahi Trust, City Safe Ambassadors, Hamilton Central Business Association and the New Zealand Police, this project is not a traditional approach. It focusses on community connectedness and a strengths-based framework. The methodology is underpinned by internationally recognised models of practice but is uniquely regional, with a strong understanding of the struggles our city’s young people face.

Using an innovative, New Zealand first model, the Street Youth Work project sends trained youth workers onto the streets to connect and engage with vulnerable teens, building critical trust needed to transition them into learning environment. Placement into education programmes are designed to help young people gain skills and build new social enterprises, developing them to become positive contributors in our community, and helping to end the cycle of negativity in these young people’s lives.

Zeal’s aspirational goal is to extend the Street Youth Work project into all major centres, through collaborative partnerships. The impact aims to be transformative, creating opportunities to end the cycle of negativity and abuse in young people’s lives. Zeal ultimately aims to provide every young New Zealander with the opportunity to discover, express and develop their unique creativity.

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