Sixteen people met in Auckland on Monday 9 June to ratify the founding constitution of the world’s first health promotion professional society. “This is a significant phase in what has been a wonderful journey,” said HPF’s Deputy Executive Director Trevor Simpson, who has been a driving force behind the Society for the past 4 years. “It was a privilege to be given this portfolio.”
At the meeting the health promotion supporters agreed the founding constitution of the Society. It will be an independent organisation with paid membership open to anyone who observes the ethos and values of health promotion, regardless of their academic or professional qualification.
The next step will be to lodge documentation with the Companies Office with a view to creating a registered Society, a formal legal body.
The concept of a professional organisation in Aotearoa was first mooted 18 years ago and has undergone close scrutiny and questioning over this time. Trevor Simpson is confident that this robust discussion around its establishment will result in a thoughtfully planned, “nimble, stand-on-its-own-two-feet organisation”.
Providing an overview of the history of the Society’s formation, Trevor referred to the country’s heritage of leadership in change and human rights. “New Zealanders have shown over and over that we are leaders in standing up for what we think we should have,” he said; citing Te Whiiti (Parihaka), Kate Sheppard (votes for women) and David Lange (nuclear-free NZ) as just some examples.
Present at the meeting were two members of the Professional Society Interim Committee. Ann Shaw, of both the PHA and the Cancer Society has been involved in the initiative since its inception. Grant Hocking, from Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), joined the committee three years ago. Trevor acknowledged their contribution as well as that of past members including:
- Dr Alison Blaiklock (past HPF Executive Director)
- Cheryl Ford (of Cancer Society Christchurch)
- Helen Rance (past Health Promotion Strategist at HPF)
- Grant Berghan (Public Health Consultant)