A one-off community day aimed at spreading awareness of diabetes has been such a success, organisers hope to make it a regular event.

Arataki Primary School students and their families were invited to take part in a fun activity day involving smoothie making, bicycles, kiwifruit races, bouncy castles and health checks on Thursday.

The day was organised by Zespri and coincided with Diabetes Awareness month.

Each day this week, Doctor Anna Rolleston visited the school to offer interactive educational demonstrations to the children about type 1 and type 2 diabetes and as well as health checks at Thursday's community day.


Dr Rolleston said she was blown away by how popular the checks were among the parents. The crowd swarmed the health check stall to find out about their individual diabetes risk.

"Community days are a great way of getting a message across because they're often so positive and cheerful and you have a captive audience, but we were so busy," Dr Rolleston said.

"We started at 2.45pm then next thing we knew it was 4.15pm and it was over. We looked up and the bouncy castle was being deflated and things were being cleared up.

"I was really impressed. They were genuinely interested in what the numbers were that we were giving them. The whole week has had a really nice feeling about it. It's just been really awesome. The kids have really impressed me."

On Monday, children were taught the differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. On Tuesday they were provided with breakfast and shown before and after blood-sugar results to learn how food could increase levels. On Wednesday, children learned to breakdance to see how exercise could drop blood-sugar levels. Yesterday, children took part in helping illustrate an upcoming book from local author Debbie McCauley about diabetes.

"This is the first time Zespri have done something like this, so I'm stoked. I'm really, really encouraged by the enthusiasm from the community," Dr Rolleston said.

Zespri external relations manager Nick Kirton said the week and community day was sparked by a conversation with one of their scientists about kiwifruit's benefits in the fight against diabetes.

"Then Anna came on board, Arataki School came on board, and it all went from there."


Kirton said the response had been amazing.

"This was a one-off to see how it went but, in my view, this was so positive, this won't be just a one-off anymore. There is a real need and this had such a positive impact on everyone,' Kirton said.