A number of schools in the Whanganui region promote good health by encouraging children to drink only water.

And health promotion officer Karney Herewini is welcoming a move by some boards of trustees to enshrine the practice in their school policies.

In his role as nutrition and physical activity health promotion officer for the Whanganui District Health Board, Mr Herewini has been visiting schools in the region to promote the water only message.

Mr Herewini says he wishes to congratulate the Upokongaro School board which has given principal Warren Brown the mandate for the school to officially become water only.


"While the school's 91 year 1 to year 8 students and staff had been practising water only for the last 18 months it means a great deal to us to be able to officially call ourselves water only," said Mr Brown.

"Our parents and children have really embraced our commitment to move in this direction so I'm delighted that the board of trustees support our desire to be water only."

Mr Herewini says he has the utmost respect for Mr Brown and his determination that Upokongaro School students will benefit from a combination of water, healthy food and exercise.

"Upokongaro School is a Sunsmart Accredited School through the Cancer Society, an official Heart Foundation Heart Start School for their adoption of healthy eating and physical activity, an official Swimming New Zealand Swim Safe School and a school where kids are encouraged to bring sandwiches, fruit and water to school which I know parents and the wider school community are really supporting."

Mosston School has also just had its long-standing water-only policy certified by its board and a number of other schools in the region have begun the process of ratifying water-only policies.

Mr Herewini says he would like to see all 71 schools in the Whanganui district become water only. To try to achieve this, he helped develop the joint WDHB, Heart Foundation and Healthy Families Water Only Schools toolkit. Schools interested in becoming a Water Only School receive a toolkit, a follow-up phone call and ongoing support from Mr Herewini or the Healthy Families team.