Free nappies boost tamariki engagement

Published on 20th of February, 2024

CMM’s Aratupu Preschool & Whānau Hub has served the needs of families in Christchurch’s northern suburbs for almost 50 years. The Hub’s unique practice model is grounded in the understanding that poverty can be a significant barrier for tamariki to receive education, and for parents to build strong and supportive relationships with their children.

In mid-2022 CMM extended the assistance it provides to Aratupu whānau by supplying free high-quality nappies to Aratupu tamariki. At the time, kaiako (teachers) reported that the combined effect of Covid and persistent increases in the cost of basics like rent, food and fuel, had placed already stretched households under additional pressure. Aratupu manager Katie recalls that period, noting that the scale of the problem became obvious as more families started requesting more food parcels more often.

“Coping with the cost of living had obviously become even harder for our whānau,” Katie says. “We started to realise that some of them had stopped supplying nappies for their tamariki as they no longer had the income to buy them. We were regularly receiving requests to use some of our supply until their next pay.”
Following the launch of the Aratupu Nappies Project, CMM supporters started making cash gifts to ensure that the centre could provide high-quality nappies to tamariki while they are onsite. Cheaper nappies require more frequent changing and ultimately are costlier, says Katie.

“In an educational setting, more frequent changing removes both teacher and child from the learning environment more often and for longer. The nappies we supply are durable and have other protective benefits; many poor families can’t afford them because of the higher upfront cost.”

Providing high-quality nappies free to Aratupu whānau enables more continuous teacher engagement with tamariki, says Katie. “While this is an educational benefit, free nappies also remove a financial stressor for struggling families.” 

Please consider supporting Aratupu whānau and kaiako by giving a gift to the Aratupu Nappies project. You can support the project by selecting Aratupu Nappies Project from the dropdown menu at