New Zealand’s Healthiest Schools Challenge kicks off for 2018 − with 57,000 plus participants


By  , Published 17th October, 2018.

The six-week New Zealand Healthiest Schools Challenge gets underway today, with a total of 57,000 children taking part from more than 500 schools around the country, as well as friends and family members who have joined the Supporters’ Challenge.

AIA and Sovereign are backing the Challenge, which first ran in 2016. Staff from the two companies will this year be participating in their own version of the Challenge. 

During the Healthiest Schools Challenge, participants are given fun tasks and simple tips on how to build healthy habits into their daily lives, as well as family routines, and classrooms. 

Topics include how to fit more activity into each day, healthy eating, limiting screen time, and sun safety. The tips encourage children and their families to make health and wellness an everyday habit. 

Children receive the tips as their customised avatars progress through a virtual tour of some of the world’s greatest sights, accompanied by digital versions of Challenge Ambassadors Cory Jane and Gemma McCaw. 

Teachers can find resources designed to help encourage their students to apply what they learn to their particular school environments via the Healthiest Schools Challenge blog (at

Once the Challenge is complete, a Challenge Ambassador will help deliver $50,000 worth of sports grants to those schools, selected through a draw, to help the students of those schools maintain their levels of activity. 

The Challenge will also be supported by a nationwide tour of two Tottenham Hotspurs International Development Coaches, who will be visiting schools as part of their role in encouraging young people around the Asia Pacific region to lead healthier lives. AIA is the lead sponsor of the English Premier League Tottenham Hotspurs Football Club. 

Nick Stanhope, Chief Executive Officer New Zealand (AIA and Sovereign), says that while the Challenge is meant to be fun, it is also hoped that it will be of significant benefit to the participants’ lives. 

“Research shows that healthy habits developed before a child turns 10 are far more likely to last a lifetime.” 

“AIA and Sovereign have a shared vision of making New Zealand one of the healthiest and best-protected nations in the world. Therefore the Healthiest Schools Challenge is a perfect fit for our two organisations – which joined forces in July − to be supporting,” Nick Stanhope says. 

Healthiest Schools Challenge Ambassador Cory Jane says that as the parent of four young children, and as a former All Black, he understands the importance of living well. 

“We all know that good health and wellbeing are vital to getting the most out of life. But we need to teach our young people that these things aren’t a ‘sometimes’ thing. They’ve got to be part of our everyday lives, and that’s what the Healthiest Schools Challenge is all about; making health and wellbeing part of our routines – in a good way,” says Cory Jane. 

The New Zealand’s Healthiest Schools Challenge runs from today (October 16) until November 23 2018.

For images from Nick Stanhope’s visit today to Milford School, where he will deliver a $1000 sports grant, or for interviews with Nick Stanhope, please contact Jay Harkness, Senior Communications Adviser, on 027 836 2533, or at 

About AIA and Sovereign: 

In New Zealand AIA and Sovereign together employ almost 900 people. Since AIA arrived in New Zealand in 1981, it has consistently provided the market with innovative personal and business insurance products that suit the Kiwi way of life. In July 2018, the AIA Group acquired Sovereign, becoming the largest life insurer in New Zealand. AIA and Sovereign offer a complete range of risk management products that focus on the needs of customers. The companies are both based in Auckland, with regional offices in Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch. Both companies are members of the Insurance and Financial Services Ombudsman Scheme and the Health Funds Association of New Zealand. AIA New Zealand has an insurer financial strength rating from Standard and Poor’s of AA-. Sovereign has a rating of A+, from AM Best. ​​

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