Childhood years are when lifelong food and drink habits are established. Schools and early childhood education (ECE) services have the opportunity to create a culture of healthy eating where children are supported to develop lifelong preferences that will help them grow into healthy adults.

Schools and ECE services are important role models for their communities and have an influence well beyond their students and their families.

Toi Te Ora Public Health supports ECE services and schools to promote water and milk as the preferred drinks for children. 


Has your school started the journey to become water only? 

The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health encourage all schools and kura in New Zealand to be water and plain milk only.  

Local schools that have removed sugary drinks and become water (and milk) only have seen that it benefits teaching and learning as well as student health and wellbeing.  

“We have hydrated children; their brains are working because they are properly hydrated. Children drinking water regularly are alert and energetic.”
– Staff at Fairhaven School, Te Puke

Toi Te Ora Public Health’s Drinks in Schools report provides a snapshot of the availability of sugary drinks in schools and kura in the Bay of Plenty and Lakes District Health Board areas in 2016.

The report findings have been summarised in an infographic (free to download). The infographic can be used to raise awareness of the availability of sugary drinks in schools while the guide ‘Make your school sugary drink free’ provides practical steps to remove sugary drinks and normalise water in your school.

A range of resources are available to support your school to become water only.


Contact us for further support.


Borrow this water dispenser and activity kit from Toi Te Ora to encourage and promote drinking water at events in your school: