Having a vegetable garden has health and social benefits.

In Whakatāne and surrounding districts about half the population is Māori.  Being Māori is one of the risk factors associated with Type 2 diabetes, which has a range of adverse effects on health. A team of our Nursing students chose to focus on Type 2 diabetes in their recent project, to try and improve equity in health outcomes for Māori.

In their research into Type 2 diabetes, these students learned that healthy eating is beneficial, with fresh fruit and vegetables. They also found that it was unclear whether tenants in Kainga Ora housing were permitted to have their own vegetable garden. 

The students took a two pronged approach to help address this issue:

  • They wrote a submission to Kainga Ora, seeking a change in the policy and/or practice so that tenants are aware they can have a vegetable garden.
  • They developed a fridge magnet with a seasonal planting guide for the Whakatāne region. This fridge magnet design was provided to community stakeholders with whom they worked, for distribution.

The students hope that growing their own vegetables will empower the community, including through sharing of both produce and gardening skills.

June 2022