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Parawai tuckshop a New Zealand champion

Parawai School has its heart is in the right place, scooping up the prize for New Zealand's most 'terrific tuckshop' at the 2003 Children's Food Awards.

Parawai Principal Brian Sheedy attended the awards at Parliament's Grand Hall to collect a Terrific Tuckshop award presented by Richard Klein of the Slow Food Movement, shared with Te Puna school in Tauranga and the Rudolph Steiner schools.

Other winners included Harraways (Best Breakfast) and breast milk (Cleanest Greenest) while 'losers' included McDonalds, Starburst Fruitfuls, Coca Cola and Kraft 2Minute Noodles.

The Children's Food Awards were initiated by Green MP Sue Kedgley, who applauded Parawai's healthy food policy.

"We're very impressed that Parawai School has taken this initiative to provide the students with healthy food and sincerely hope others will follow their lead," said Ms Kedgley, the Green Food Safety spokesperson.

Mr Sheedy credited the success of their food policy on the involvement of students who helped design the lunch menu along with local dieticians.

"This is not about a bunch of adults telling them what to eat. The student council is very much involved and we do take their ideas on board, in fact the menu is about to change again for summer," said Mr Sheedy.

The 'Tui Tuck Shop' provides food such as chicken filled rolls, muffins and fruit juice, all of which, said Mr Sheedy, has the 'Heart Beat Approved' tick.

"All the food we sell has to have this tick," said Mr Sheedy.

Ms Kedgley wants to see healthy food policies such as the one adopted by Parawai School becoming an integral part of every school's health policies.

"As a nation that must improve the food we eat, what better place to start than our schools?"

The New Zealand Children's Food Awards are supported by a diverse range of groups such as Plunket, 5+ A Day, the Maori Women's Welfare League and MAdGE. The award ceremony featured guest speakers champion runner Alison Roe and Dr Robyn Toomath from Fight the Obesity Epidemic.

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