Why Porirua, New Zealand?
As of 2016 approximately 40% of Porirua was under the age of 25. With 20% of the total population identifying as Maori (14% NZ) and 25% as Pacific (7% NZ), this makes Porirua one of the most youthful and ethnically diverse places in NZ. In addition, Porirua has one of NZ's highest percentages of single parent families (23%) and large households (4 persons or more). 52% of households receive benefit. 26% of people have no qualifications. Most houses lack modern heating with more than 55% of young people unable to afford heating their home in winter. 25% of young people report a home with damp or mould. "75% of whanau and social service providers who participated in the Blitz 2 Survey said that half or nearly all of the children they know or worked with had poor health because of the houses they lived in." Young people are at an increased risk of crime and safety issues revolving around alcohol, drugs, theft and damage. Declared a "food desert" in 2011, children in Porirua receive limited access to healthy foods, fruits and vegetables. Each day, hundreds of children attend "low - decile" Porirua schools without breakfast or lunch. The Ministry of Health recommends that children and young people take part in at least 60 minutes of moderate or vigorous physical activity every day. With under 50% of children in Porirua exercising or engaging in recreational activities more than five times per week, there is significant room to increase physical activity to improve overall health, wellness, and energy levels of children in the region. (Source: STATUS REPORT CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE IN PORIRUA 2017) Photos courtesy of Tracy Sexton Photography.