On New Year’s Day 2018, the second Fizz Free Whānau challenge will begin. With the support of some big stars and high profile community leaders, the challenge promises to be even more successful than the inaugural challenge to go sugary drink free for January, launched in 2017.

"We had a fantastic response in our first year," says Kera Sherwood-O’Regan, Campaign Manager for Fizz Free Whānau at Hāpai Te Hauora. "Our participants loved the philosophy of manaakitanga which drove the campaign. It’s not about shaming people into making healthy choices, it’s about surrounding them with the aroha and support to achieve their goals. We achieve this through our close knit social media community and by providing resources and regular updates to ensure everyone gets the support they need to be able to make those choices."

This year participants can gather sponsors to fundraise for healthy initiatives in kōhanga, sports clubs, marae or other groups which support community wellbeing. Sherwood-O’Regan says this was an important addition in the 2018 challenge- "While this is about supporting individuals and whānau to make healthy choices, we know that those choices aren’t made in a vacuum. The built and food environments play a major role in determining wellbeing. This way, our challengers can do something good for themselves, but also positively affect the environments they live in and benefit the whole community."

Fizz Free Whānau challenges the stereotype of Māori being overweight, sick, unhealthy and lazy, and aims to share a positive image of Māori wellbeing. Is the challenge just for Māori? "Not at all!" says Ants Hawke, General Manager, Regional Māori Public Health at Hāpai Te Hauora. "While this challenge is guided by kaupapa Māori principles, we believe these can work for all people. We want to support all our communities to achieve full hauora - holistic wellbeing."

Champion, Mike Puru says "I’ve always struggled to stay clear of the fizz, but new year new me and the support of Fizz Free Whānau is just what I need- plus making statements in public means you have to achieve it! Come on let’s do this together!".

Other champions include Marama Davidson MP, Northern Stars Netballers, Maria Tutaia, the Oneill twins, Dr Scott Waghorn, and Maria Foy of Healthy Mum Healthy Child.

What: Fizz Free Whānau: a challenge to go without sugary drinks for the month of January

When: Starting New Year's Day 2018

Who: Hāpai Te Hauora, with partners Netball New Zealand and Toi Tangata, supporting whānau to go sugary drinks free with information, encouragement and prizes throughout the month of January.

Where: All over Aotearoa and the Cook Islands

How: Get on board with #FizzFreeWhānau at fizzfree.org.nz

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