HAVE you ever wondered what it would be like to live below the poverty line?
To get a glimpse into the lives of 1.4 billion people who have no choice but to live in poverty, three Rotorua residents, Rick Mansell, Kiri Danielle and her 12-year-old daughter, Moerewa Hunt, are going to each live on $2.25 a day for five days.
They are among at least a dozen people in Rotorua who have so far signed up for the challenge.
Hundreds of New Zealanders, including rugby legend Jonah Lomu, are taking part in the Live Below the Line challenge - an initiative of the Global Poverty Project, an education and campaigning organisation whose mission is to increase the number and effectiveness of people taking action against extreme poverty.
Kiri says she decided to take part after being challenged by a friend.
"I looked into it and I thought it would be really good to do ... It will be a very good learning experience as well as raising my awareness of what's happening overseas. It will be a wonderful learning experience. I'm sure it will make me a more compassionate human being."
Kiri is pooling her resources with her daughter, Moerewa, which means they will have $22.50 to spend for the week.
"We will be living off things like kumara, potato and pumpkin. I have a garden at home so I will be working out how much I can eat from my garden."
The pair will also live on water and rice and Kiri will have 250g of cottage cheese as her protein and her treat.
A report released this week says one in four New Zealand children are living in poverty and Kiri says she hopes some of the menus she comes up with will be able to be used by people in Rotorua who live below the poverty line.
Kiri says living on $2.25 a day will not be too far removed from what she eats at the moment but it will take away the quality and choice.
"For breakfast I have a yummy fruit salad with four different fruits and yoghurt. During the challenge I will have one piece of fruit and some porridge." One of the hardest aspects of the five days for Kiri will be going without milk. She drinks about a litre a day.
She doesn't see Live Below the Line as a challenge.
"It's not a challenge for five days. It's an experiment. It's a challenge to do it [live on $2.25 a day] for life."
Kiri and Moerewa will be seeking sponsorship for their efforts and any money raised will be donated to World Vision.
Kiri challenged Rotorua MP Todd McClay and Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell, as well as Rotorua Mayor Kevin Winters and Rotorua District councillors to take part in the challenge.
She believes the challenge may help them have more empathy for those who live without.
"It can only be a positive thing to walk a moment in their shoes ... It's a great opportunity to give it a go. It's only five days."
Kiri's daughter, Moerewa, says she wants to live on $2.25 a day so she can see how other children live and "how they don't get the privilege to eat how I do".
Moerewa normally has muesli and yoghurt for breakfast. She eats a packet of chips, an orange and a sandwich, and sometimes a yoghurt at school, and meat and vegetables and dessert for dinner.
She usually has a bar of chocolate a day.
Moerewa admits she is a little scared about not being able to have chocolate and may allow herself one square a day during the five days.
Rick says he doesn't know whether he will be able to live on $2.25 a day but he is going to try.
"I don't know how I will hold up for five days."
But he wants to take the challenge to recognise the 1.4 billion people who live below the poverty line.
"I just want to get a feel for what it means to be in extreme poverty ... It's sad that we are living in a world that has such affluence and that we can't figure out how people can eat the bare minimum a day."
Overcoming temptations will be the biggest hurdle for Rick, who owns a cafe, and lives with others who will be eating normally.
He plans to live on beans and flour which he will use to make pancakes.
"I've figured out you can have an egg a day, a thin slice of meat, half a can of beans and some porridge in the morning and that pushes you to $2.25."
Rick says he will struggle not being able to have sweet foods including desserts, biscuits, fruit juice and ice cream.
Rick admits he may be a little grumpier during the week of the challenge.
"I have no idea what food deprivation does to you. I've got the end of the challenge to look forward to. There are people that food deprivation is there for the rest of their life. They don't have a way out of it."