It's bizarre that in a country known for its food exports, many families cannot manage to provide regular meals for their children, Waikato District Health Board's Maori health service head says.
A report by the Children's Commissioner's Expert Advisory Group on Child Poverty, released last December, says 270,000 children are living below the poverty line.
Te Puna Oranga general manager Ditre Tamatea says New Zealand is known as a food basket to the world but the irony is many families struggle daily to have basic food items.
Mr Tamatea says this has a negative impact on children's health and ability to concentrate at school, and children often feel the stress of being in families who are struggling.
Children are not responsible for their circumstances and it is unfair that they often bear the brunt of poverty. The government, communities, iwi and businesses need to work together to combat child poverty, he says.