Stop the cuts - protect our free school lunches!

Sign the petition to save our school lunches

Ka Ora, Ka Ako – “being well means being able to learn’’

Campaign Action

We have launched a petition calling on the Government NOT to cut the free school lunches programme was launched on March 7, 2024 – with this media release.

National Day of Action – March 18 – education leaders will join with health and children’s advocates to eat lunch with students of Arakura School in Wainuiomata, Lower Hutt, to send a resolute message to Prime Minister Christopher Luxon to stop the cuts to the lunch programme. 

A toolkit with further actions to support the campaign is coming soon – this will include a template for letters to your local MP.


  • The Government’s free school lunches programme – Ka Ora, Ka Ako, was launched in 2019 to address rising food poverty and poor nutrition.
  • The programme goes to schools in the top 25% of the equity index that are facing the greatest socioeconomic barriers.
  • All students at those schools receive a healthy free lunch each day.

“Do not take the food out of our children’s mouths”

Principals at schools receiving Ka Ora, Ka Ako say the programme has made a huge and lasting impact on students and losing it would be a tragedy.

Principal of Te Kura Māori o Ngā Tapuwae in Māngere East Arihia Stirling said on TVNZ’s Breakfast programme, children are more focused and the number of students having to work to help pay for family basics has fallen as a result of the free lunch programme.

“What I say to the Associate Minister of Education is do not take the food out of our children’s mouths…this is so needed in the communities we serve.”

Seletute “Tute” Mila, principal of Arakura School in Wainuiomata, Lower Hutt, told The Press, Ka Ora, Ka Ako was a “critical programme” which her students loved.

The same story reported comments by Chisnallwood Intermediate Year 8 student Ryder who said the lunches should stay “… mainly because that is a lot of students’ meal for the entirety of the day … most people don’t have food at home.”

Before the lunches were introduced in 2022, Ryder said he struggled to learn “because my brain just got like, ‘oh, I’m so hungry’.“After I ate the lunches I’d always have energy to do stuff.”

The benefits of free lunches

Research and evaluations of Ka Ora, Ka Ako show a variety of benefits.

Stop the cuts - protect our free school lunches!

Sign the petition to save our school lunches