That Sugar Movement

Mai Wiru Sugar Challenge Foundation

How it began

It was while filming That Sugar Film that Damon Gameau learned of the achievements made through the work of community owned and directed organisations such as the Mai Wiru Regional Stores Council, Nganampa Health Council and Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women’s Council (NPY Women’s Council).

Determined to support the APY communities in their mission to take control of their nutrition and improve their health status, Damon founded The Mai Wiru (Good Food) Sugar Challenge Foundation in 2014.


The plight of the APY communities was documented in That Sugar Film and the “Amata” sequence.

That Sugar Film - Play Video

Amata, That Sugar Film [2015]

The issues

The health challenges of Aboriginal people are well documented; current research indicates a 10-year gap between the life expectancy of Indigenous and non-indigenous males and females. The report published by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare: Indigenous Health (2014) found that “the largest gap in death rates between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians was in circulatory disease deaths (22% of the gap), followed by endocrine, metabolic and nutritional disorders (particularly diabetes) (14% of the gap).”

Nutrition is identified as a key social determinant of Indigenous health, with more than 75% of Indigenous deaths resulting from potentially avoidable causes. This includes Type 2 diabetes, a preventable, non-communicable chronic disease, and excessive weight. Of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, approximately 70% of adults and 38% of children were considered overweight or obese in 2015. Additionally, 8% of children are underweight, another major contributor to an avoidable cause of poor health and death.

The Mai Wiru Sugar Challenge Foundation recognises that the relationship of nutrition to health is a complex issue, especially in remote Aboriginal communities. By combining modern and local traditional knowledge of food preparation, the foundation aims to reduce sugar intake by encouraging delicious healthy alternatives and supporting an innovative program of health promotion.

Mai Wiru Website

Mai Wiru Facebook Page

Update: July 2019

The Mai Wiru Sugar Challenge Foundation is rapt to say we have now raised $47k to bring our Palyaringkunytjaku project to fruition!

We are ready to turn Ina’s dream – to offer an immersive educational and physical experience to a number of APY Land elders – into a reality.

Read more

Get Involved

Mai Wiru Sugar Challenge Foundation prides itself on the fact that 90% of the money raised has been spent on the community. Make a difference – follow on Facebook and donate today!

Donate today

Making a difference

Having healthy food available does not mean people choose to eat that food all the time, or even most of the time. This is where the Foundation comes in. Each of the vital programs are developed and designed in an inclusive and sharing way – taking the best everyone has to offer to ensure the best outcomes for community members. Your tax-deductible donation will help support a variety of key projects, tackling both food education and supply.


Clearer labelling of foods so added sugar is known through a teaspoon labelling system now in-store.



Training and employing Aboriginal ‘nutrition advisors’ in the stores to educate and assist community members.



Improved food supply to APY communities, so that food sources are plentiful, nutritious and healthy.



Educating our youth around the importance of balanced eating as part of a healthy lifestyle.

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That Sugar Movement