He kai kei aku ringa: Food security, sovereignty and systems in Aotearoa

Food security is a major issue in Aotearoa. Only two in five Maori households have stable access to nutritious kai and utilise it. Estimates are that a poor diet claims between 8,000 and 11,000 NZ lives each year, but nutritious kai doesn’t simply prevent illness, it enhances health and wellbeing.

Our access to kai is limited by the food system and by our knowledge. The food system is comprised of producers, distributors, retailers and consumers and everyone has an impact on that system (and our environment). The food system is allegedly consumer-driven, that is, consumers tell the rest of the system what they want. But for those in poverty, the food system is led by massive globalised corporations, who frequently discount food with poor nutrition as “loss leaders” to promote consumption.