New programme connects people over sustainable kai

Good food – food for good

Iconic charity Keep New Zealand Beautiful today launches their new Kai Connections programme, a fun, easy and educational way for students, whānau and friends to demonstrate commitment to kai pai (good food) and kai mo te pai (food for good) by coming together to share in an environmentally friendly picnic.

The programme aims to bring people together around fresh, seasonal, healthy food in the form of a shared meal or picnic. With food production, distribution and consumption all having a significant impact not only on our health but that of the planet, a Kai Connections picnic challenges participants to choose ingredients for their picnic that are local, seasonal and organically grown, and as waste-free as they can be.

“Our everyday meal and food choices make an impact, however small, on our environment,” says Heather Saunderson, CEO of Keep New Zealand Beautiful. “By making responsible food choices such as knowing the environmental footprint of the food you buy, reducing food and packaging waste, and growing or buying seasonal produce, you not only end up with nutritious kai pai (good food) but also kai mo te pai (food for good) – sustainable and healthy food which contributes to shaping our world for the better.”

Kai Connections is one of Keep New Zealand Beautiful’s Plant New Zealand Beautiful programmes alongside the Kai Garden programme, a unit of work and garden design competition for ECE, primary and intermediate students to create and build an edible (kai) or rongoā (traditional Māori medicinal) garden using sustainable or reclaimed materials. A Kai Connections picnic is a great and inexpensive way for schools to celebrate and enjoy the harvest of their Kai Garden, celebrate the end of an environmental enquiry or to mark the completion of one of the seven steps to becoming an Eco-School.

Ms Saunderson says a Kai Connections picnic provides a great opportunity for schools, businesses, community and youth groups to come together socially and share in a sustainable and delicious meal.

“It can be held at any time or multiple times throughout the year and is the perfect way to mark the end of the school term or to add a personalised touch to a team building event. It’s also a fun, educational and nutritious way to celebrate Matariki or the completion of a community event such as Keep New Zealand Beautiful’s Clean Up Week.”

Registered participants receive resources from Keep New Zealand Beautiful to help them to host a successful Kai Connections picnic, and for school groups Kai Connections aligns well with achievement objectives in the New Zealand School Curriculum as well as many of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“Alongside Kai Gardens, Kai Connections is a great opportunity to educate students on environmental kaitiakitanga and the meaning of good, healthy, inexpensive and abundant kai,” says Ms. Saunderson.

Find out more about hosting your own Kai Connections picnic and get inspiration at or call 0800 TIDY KIWI.

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