Ka Ora, Ka Ako | healthy school lunches programme: resources for participating schools and kura

Ka Ora, Ka Ako | healthy school lunches programme aims to reduce food insecurity by providing access to a nutritious lunch in schools and kura. The documents on this page contact detailed guidance for schools and kura taking part in Ka Ora, Ka Ako.

Business continuity plans

Every school, kura and supplier should have a business continuity plan (BCP) in place. We have developed some tools to help if needed: 

Business Continuity Planning - Ka Ora, Ka Ako - Healthy School Lunches Programme(external link)

Nutrition Standards

It is important school lunches are healthy and nutritious.

Nutrition guidelines for Ka Ora, Ka Ako have been developed with the Ministry of Health. Schools and suppliers delivering lunches can use the guidelines to support menu planning and make sure their learners are receiving a healthy lunch. Details about the nutrition standards, as well as recipes, menu ideas and additional resources can be found at the Ka Ora, Ka Ako website: 

Nutrition Standards for Ka Ora, Ka Ako menus - Ka Ora, Ka Ako - Healthy School Lunches Programme(external link)

Pathway to Nutrition

We recognise that children’s tastes vary, and it can be challenging to provide healthy food that children want to eat. Schools and kura can play a vital role helping students learn about healthy food and why it is important.

The Pathway to Nutrition provides information for schools and kura on how they can encourage students as they learn to enjoy healthy food, and guidance to suppliers as they build and adapt their menus to provide healthier lunches.

Special dietary needs

Some students may require a special meal for medical reasons such as an allergy or food intolerance, or because some foods must be avoided or prepared in a particular way for ethical or religious reasons. It is important that these students’ are included alongside their peers in Ka Ora, Ka Ako.

Collecting information on students with complex dietary needs is not always straightforward. To support schools and kura to keep students with high and complex dietary needs safe we have developed a factsheet and questionnaire.

The factsheet provides more information on high and complex needs diets.

High and complex needs information sheet [PDF, 205 KB] 

The Specialised Diet Questionnaire will assist staff and whānau in gathering the appropriate information needed to share with suppliers.

It is important to note that any information you share outside the school should be anonymised to protect the privacy of students.

Specialised diet questionnaire [DOCX, 172 KB] 

We worked closely with Allergy New Zealand to develop practical guidance that can be used in conjunction with the Ka Ora, Ka Ako high and complex needs information sheet and specialised diets questionnaire.

Practice guidance on managing students with food allergies [DOCX, 72 KB]

Food Control Plan

All schools and kura that prepare and provide lunches themselves must have a registered and verified Food Control Plan to make sure standards for food safety and hygiene are met.

A Food Control Plan has been developed with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) specifically for the school lunch programme.

Food Control Plan for Ka Ora, Ka Ako | Healthy school lunches programme [PDF, 2.2 MB]

Schools and kura that use the Food Control Plan developed for Ka Ora, Ka Ako must register their Food Control Plan with MPI. Regional senior advisors can help schools and kura who need support with this.

Food Safety Act 2014(external link) 

Food Safety Toolkit – Ministry for Primary Industries(external link)

Managing surplus lunches safely

From time to time, schools and kura may have surplus lunches, for example when students are absent from school. For schools that choose to send food home with students or share it with the wider community, we have worked with the Ministry for Primary Industries to develop this guidance on how to manage surplus lunches safely. [PDF, 233 KB]

Guidance-on-the-safe-redistribution-of-surplus-lunches [PDF, 233 KB]

Guide for leftovers for schools – Ministry for Primary Industries [PDF, 561 KB]

Surplus lunch food safety procedures template for schools [DOCX, 72 KB]

There is also a factsheet for parents and whānau on how to  safely manage food that is brought home.

Guide for taking home leftovers – English [PDF, 183 KB]

Guide-for-taking-home-leftovers – Te Reo Māori [PDF, 243 KB]

Guide-for-taking-home-leftovers – Fijian [PDF, 233 KB]

Guide-for-taking-home-leftovers – Kiribati [PDF, 243 KB]

Guide-for-taking-home-leftovers – Niuean [PDF, 217 KB]

Guide-for-taking-home-leftovers – Rotuman [PDF, 305 KB]

Guide-for-taking-home-leftovers – Samoan [PDF, 223 KB]

Guide-for-taking-home-leftovers – Tokelauan [PDF, 243 KB]

Guide-for-taking-home-leftovers – Tongan [PDF, 221 KB]

Guide-for-taking-home-leftovers – Tuvaluan [PDF, 217 KB]

Minor capital items 

Schools taking part in the school lunches programme can apply for limited funding to purchase smaller items and appliances needed to support providing lunches, such as a fridge, oven or dishwasher, food storage containers, serving utensils, cutlery and crockery.

Guidelines for the funding of minor capital items [PDF, 445 KB]

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