Isaac Davison is a NZ Herald political reporter.

Sweet as - schools get free fruit

Scheme set to deliver 18 million pieces to primary pupils this year.

Photo / Getty Images
Photo / Getty Images

School children will next week have their lunch boxes filled with free bananas, apples and ... mineolas.

Fruit in Schools is into its ninth year and providers will deliver 500,000 pieces of fruit to low decile schools next week, from everyday items to the more obscure, including mineolas - a type of tangelo.

Health Minister Tony Ryall said the scheme would provide about 18 million pieces of free fruit to around 473 primary and intermediate schools throughout the academic year.

Records showed that the largest proportion of high-needs schools were in Counties Manukau (67 schools) and Northland (63 schools).

The Fruit in Schools programme began in 2006 after a review found only 40 per cent of children ate two pieces of fruit a day.

May Road School principal Lynda Stuart said fruit was expensive and some of her students would never eat it without the subsidy.

"For some of our families, it's one of those things that isn't necessarily on the list."

She said it also gave them an opportunity to expand their diet and try a range of healthy foods. Among the 33 types of fruit delivered to schools were peacharines, tomatoberries and prince melons.

The Decile 2 Mt Roskill school's inclusion in the scheme had led to a tangible difference in children's wellbeing and learning, Ms Stuart said.

The scheme was designed to run for three years but it was expanded after research showed that children were more active, better behaved and had improved oral health through eating fruit.
See a full list of the schools involved here:

- NZ Herald

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