Health Areas > Healthy Kai
WHY eat oranga kai?

What you eat and drink and how much you eat and drink is important for your health.  Being healthy improves your quality of life and means that you are more likely to be around longer for your whānau.

Healthy eating:

  • helps your body to work well and helps you to feel good

  • can lower your risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers and help you to have a healthy bodyweight 

  • means eating a variety of foods that give you the nutrients your body needs.


Why do we need kai?

There is a purpose for food beyond the fact that it tastes good.  Eating food is a basic matter of survival.  Our body contains over one hundred trillion cells and each converts nutrients from the food we eat, into the energy we need, to function and survive. 

Kai is important to Māori, our culture and way of life.  Kai is used in important tikanga such as pōwhiri, hui and tangihanga.  Lets make sure what kai we eat and serve is nurturing our hauora as well as our wairua.

Nutrients found in foods allow our bodies to perform their necessary functions so we can remain healthy and well.  Nutrients are the vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, which give our body instructions about how to function. 

It's important to realise that our body is only as healthy as the food you give it.  The quality of the food you put into your body has a huge impact on your health.  Healthy foods like vegetables, fruit, seafood and meats with minimal fat, are a much better choice than processed foods (for example, takeaways, muesli bars, potato chips, pies, sauces and packaged foods), because processing removes nutrients.

If we give our body too much food, or the wrong types of food, we can become overweight, undernourished, and at risk of developing long term health conditions like arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease.

Why do we need water?

For generations our ancestors have understood that the purity of our water was linked with the vitality of our people.  As a food source, a place of bathing, a ceremonial area, and as a source of drinking water -  water is essential to life.  Traditionally, wai was the drink of choice for Māori.  Humans can survive for only 3 or 4 days without drinking water.

The body uses water to help regulate its temperature and maintain important bodily functions.  The body loses water through breathing, sweating, and digestion, so it's important to rehydrate by drinking water and eating foods that contain water.

Drinking water helps to:

  • increase energy levels

  • relieve fatigue

  • assist with weight loss

  • improve skin complexion

  • maintain regular bowel movement

  • support our immune system

  • prevent cramps, sprains and headaches.

Why is it important to serve oranga kai on your marae?

Manaakitanga is a traditional Māori value which is central to our culture and considered to be very important. especially in regards to the welcoming of visitors.  Serving healthy and fresh kai on your marae is a good example of manaakitanga and can be a great way of showing your guests that their wellbeing is important to you.  

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