Healthy Active Learning , Ako mātātoa

Massey University is leading the evaluation of the Healthy Active Learning initiative. Find out more about it and how to get involved.

About Healthy Active Learning

Healthy Active Learning is a nationwide initiative that aims to improve the wellbeing of children and young people through healthy eating, drinking and quality physical activity.

It’s a joint government initiative between Sport New Zealand, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education.

Find out more about the initiative on Sport New Zealand’s website

Read the full evaluation report

Check out Healthy Active Learning on Facebook

Inclusion criteria

We’re recruiting schools from across New Zealand to become intervention and control schools.

Intervention schools

Intervention schools receive support from Healthy Active Learning Advisors and are willing to be part of the evaluation.

Control schools

Control schools do not receive support from Healthy Active Learning Advisors, but are interested in joining the study and willing to be part of the evaluation.

Scope of evaluation

A team of evaluators from Massey University will survey selected schools for two weeks in 2020/2021, 2022/2023 and 2024/2025.

During this time the evaluation team will evaluate the effect Healthy Active Learning has had on:

  • school food policy, practices and food availability
  • students’ physical activity levels and motivation to be physically active
  • students’ engagement and how they are socially connected in the classroom
  • teachers’ practices
  • whānau-observed changes in tamariki.

How evaluation will take place

The evaluation teams will collect data from a range of different people using multiple methods within the school setting.

All evaluation teams are police-checked and trained to work with children. Their aim is to work with schools to collect data with as little disruption as possible.


Questionnaires will be collected during class time.

The children’s physical activity is collected by a wristwatch over seven days (some children only).

The watch works like a pedometer or step counter. It does not have a GPS tracker to identify where students are, or contain a camera.

Image of a wrist watch

Example of a wristwatch used in the study

Teachers and principals

Questionnaire data will be collected at the same time as the children’s where possible. Focus groups will take place after school.


Questionnaires will be collected before and after school. Focus groups will occur after school (kura in Gisborne only).

School requirements

Schools will be required to:

  • allow at least one class per year level to be part of the evaluation
  • allocate a coordinator who will be the main contact person for Massey University
  • have parents sign the consent form for children to participate in the evaluation.

Incentives for participation

Intervention and control schools will be gifted a $100 Rebel Sport voucher as a thank you for hosting the evaluation team.

Teachers, children and whānau will go in the draw to win a $100 supermarket voucher. There will be one prize draw per group for each region.

Children’s consent form and participant information sheets

Fill out the children’s consent form

Download the participant information sheets to get detailed information about what’s involved when you participate in the evaluation.


Early Learning Services food policy and practices survey

This survey is intended for completion by someone involved in the management of the ELS or familiar with policy and practices surrounding food.

The topics covered include your Early Learning Service’s (ELS) food environment, particularly policy and practices to do with food and drinks.

Go to the ELS food policy and practices survey

Teachers’ survey

This survey is intended for completion for all primary, intermediate, secondary and ELS teachers in New Zealand, including principals and senior management.

The topics covered include your teaching practices, confidence in teaching health and PE, PLD opportunities, your school’s culture, student physical activity opportunities and student engagement.

Go to the teachers’ survey

Whānau engagement survey

This survey is intended for distribution by school leads to parents and whānau of children in the school.

The topics covered include your child/children’s experiences with physical activity and health and PE at school, as well as opportunities they have to be active in the community.

Go to the whānau engagement survey

Academic papers

Find out more about the Healthy Active Learning initiative.

Jackson et al (2022), Avoiding the odd one out: social cohesion in New Zealand primary classrooms

Pillay et al (2022), Examining the New Zealand school food environment: what needs to change?

Latest news

Read the latest news about the Healthy Active Learning initiative.

Healthy Active Learning at Randwick School, Lower Hutt

Healthy Active Learning on NewsHub

More girls active with inclusive approach to PE