Community, Environment, Global, Uncategorized

HPF’s Executive Director Sione Tu’itahi talks to Hauora about the outcomes, goals and lasting impact of the global Health Promotion Forum conference in Rotorua from April 7-11, 2019

Last April the Health Promotion Forum co-hosted the 23rd International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE) World Conference on Health Promotion in Rotorua. With a timely theme of ‘Hauora: Promoting Planetary Health and Sustainable Development for All’, more than a 1000 delegates and organisations from 73 countries participated.

H: There has been very positive feedback about the conference. Are you happy with the results, and did you achieve the outcomes you set?

Sione Tu’itahui speaking at IUHPE2019

ST: Yes, I am happy to say we achieved our three major outcomes, and more. The knowledge that was exchanged was very relevant, crucial and very timely for the needs of health promotion, and the world today. Health promoters and other health workers, as well as those who work in sustainable development enhanced existing networks and formed new ones. And the legacy initiatives of two legacy statements, and initiating the process for a healthy city, were also achieved.

H: Let’s talk more about those outcomes in details. What is some of the relevant knowledge shared?

ST: Among other important features, at least three major areas emerged and moved closer together, offering comprehensive knowledge and practical tools for the delegates to take home and implement on addressing the health of the planet and its peoples. These were the social determinants of health with an equity and social justice approach, planetary health and ecological determinants with an eco-social approach and an inter-generational understanding and goal for health and wellbeing, and indigenous knowledge and health promotion with a clear philosophy and practice that humans are inseparable from the ecology. On another level, the spiritual dimension of wellbeing, and spiritual health promotion also came to the fore during the conference. It was great to see these major areas of health knowledge coming together, offering a profound understanding on planetary health, and relevant, practical tools.

What was significant was that the presenters in all these areas of knowledge were complementary in their addresses, presenting a balanced, and comprehensive big picture of where the health of the planet and its peoples are at, and the comprehensive set of strategies to address those challenges at all levels.

H: What else was significant about the knowledge shared at the conference?

ST: Two other significant contents of the conference were the leading contributions of Maori research, policy, practice and leadership to Indigenous health promotion, and how pronounced climate change and ecological challenges are in our Pacific region. In fact, we decided to host the conference here in order for our New Zealand knowledge and experience to be shared with the world, and for the world to understand our greater Pacific region and its challenges, as well as our collective effort to address those challenges. For example, 20 years after introducing Te Pae Mahutonga as a health promotion model for New Zealand, Sir Mason Durie presented a new model, Matariki, at the conference for Indigenous peoples. Tuhoe Nation Leader Tamati Kruger shared the challenging but progressive and resilient journey of his tribe from the ravages of colonisation to mana motu hake/autonomy today. Delegates were in awe at such profound knowledge and courageous, moral leadership.

H: You mentioned some legacy initiatives. What are they?

ST: There were three legacy initiatives: two legacy statements, and Rotorua to become a healthy city under the WHO (World Health Organization) scheme of the same name.  Led by two editorial teams, the conference delegates drafted and approved by acclamation the two statements on the final day. The first statement is the Rotorua Statement which summarises the important themes and knowledge that emerged from the conference, calling for action on those crucial areas for the health and wellbeing of the planet and its peoples. The second statement is the Waiora Indigenous Peoples Statement. It outlines the loss of Indigenous peoples under colonisation around the world, and calls for privileging indigenous knowledge as a right, and articulates how Indigenous health promotion can contribute to addressing the challenges on planetary health. On the healthy initiative, Rotorua’s mayor Steve Chadwick agreed to explore with us how Rotorua can become a ‘healthy city’ under the WHO’s scheme of the same name. Rotorua can be the model for other cities. All social, economic, cultural and ecological challenges, health included, are related, and cities are a manageable setting where these challenges can be addressed in a well-coordinated and effective way. The vision is for our cities to become healthy, liveable and sustainable.

H: So, it was not just a talkfest?

ST: No, certainly not. You can watch the videos of those keynote speakers on the IUHPE and HPF YouTube channels. Maori equity and social justice were articulated by the likes of Sir Michael Marmot and Fran Baum, indigenous health promotion was clearly embedded by the addresses by Sir Mason Durie, Tamati Kruger of Tuhoe Nation, Dame Anne Salmond, and Professor Anthony Capon. Professor Capon and Professor Trevor Hancock also highlighted planetary health, ecological determinants and the eco-social approach. 

H: What lessons have you learned as a result of hosting the conference?

ST: Quite a few. One is that our nation’s founding document, Te Tiriti o Waitangi, was very effective as a framework for negotiating the terms of the conference and for co-hosting it with the International Union for Health Promotion and Education. Using Te Tiriti enables us to work as equal partners, sharing our knowledge and experience, and achieving outcomes agreed on, such as the theme of the conference where we highlight Indigenous knowledge, having Te Reo Maori as one of the four languages of the conference.


Mental health

The Wellbeing Budget announcements indicate that the Government is starting to take mental health seriously, says Zoe Hawke, Mental Health Foundation manager of the Policy and Advocacy and Community Engagement, Health Promotion team.

Zoe Hawke

Ms Hawke who is the Chair of the Health Promotion Forum says the creation of a $1.9 billion mental health package and the Health Minister’s acknowledgement that more funding will be needed over multiple years are evidence of the Government’s commitment.

She refers to significant points made by the Government in the Budget as overall a promising start in addressing mental wellbeing and the number of deaths from suicide, but adds that much more will be needed to turn things around.

“The Budget did try to acknowledge the significance of the suicide prevention issues for Māori, as well as those of Pasifika and Rainbow communities (more could have been done in these areas, and many people will continue to advocate for more, including myself).

“I will also be keeping my eye on the resources for schools pledge, and whether they  also go to kura kaupapa, kohanga and wharekura to ensure equity of outcomes.  Additionally I hope to see that the ongoing development of the workforce includes a well-resourced cultural responsiveness training component,” says Ms Hawke.    

“Fingers crossed we see a continued follow through in future budget commitments to address inequalities that have persisted for way too many years, and which cannot and will not be solved through one budget alone.”  

Ms Hawke says the Wellbeing Budget provides some more context to the Government’s response to He Ara Oranga (the report of the Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction), which was released the day before budget announcements.

“In their response to He Ara Oranga the Government accepted in principle, or agreed to further consideration of 38 of the 40 recommendations of the Inquiry Panel.  However many had concerns that the detail was missing on what this would look like. The Wellbeing Budget that followed gave some reassurances  to the mental health sector, and now our work begins on ensuring the implementation of the 38 recommendations and associated funding streams is done effectively.”

Significant points made by the Government in the Wellbeing Budget include:

  • Funding the establishment of a new Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission provides leadership to hold the government accountable for on-going investment and progress.
  • The Wellbeing Budget shows the start of a commitment to tackle key social determinants of mental health such as housing, child poverty, and family and sexual violence.
  • Acknowledgement of the considerable mental health inequities Māori face. Commitment to address this through allowing a flexible approach to service design and delivery. Iwi based and other Kaupapa Māori services are acknowledged and their development is supported in the plans for major new services for early support for people with mild to moderate needs.
  • Funding of up to eight programmes designed to strengthen personal identity and connection to the community and will also scale up successful kaupapa Māori initiatives
  • On-going development of the mental health workforce
  • Acknowledgment that one size does not fit all and the importance of co-design of services with local communities, people with lived experience of mental distress and the wider mental health sector.
  • Investment of $40 million into suicide prevention.
  • Support for resources to be made available to teachers to promote mental resilience in primary and intermediate schools.
  • Four free sessions of counselling for people bereaved by suicide
  • Acknowledgement that media guidelines needs to be supported (this is important because the evidence is clear that the way we kōrero about suicide in the media can contribute to further harm in our communities).

Global, Maori, Maori health promotion

Twenty years after introducing “Te Pae Mahutonga” as a framework for health promotion in New Zealand at an HPF conference in 1999, Sir Mason Durie introduced another star-based framework to guide health promotion for Maori and other Indigenous peoples.

Sir Mason Durie

Sir Mason introduced “Matariki” at the 23rd World Conference on Health Promotion in Rotorua, last April.

“Matariki is the Māori name for the cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades (or Subaru in Japan). It rises in mid-winter and for many Māori, it heralds the start of a new year, a time for remembering the dead, celebrating new life and planting new crops,” he said. “The focus on stars reminds us that we are part of an unbounded universe.”

Based on the eight main stars in the cluster, he named eight Matariki dimensions of health: Mana Tangata -Human dignity,  Whānau Ora – Families,  Hapori – Communities, Ranginui – The sky,  Papatuanuku- The land,  Nga Wai – Rivers and oceans, Ngahere – The forests, and Te Ao Tuturu – Rhythms of nature.

“Matariki provides a health promotion agenda for Māori and Indigenous peoples that endorse Indigenous rights, keep our skies clean and fresh, protect our lands, preserve our native forests, enable whānau and families to flourish, support community initiatives, safeguard our rivers and ocean, and restore nature’s balance, ” Sir Mason asserts.

He also pointing out that when combined, the six stars of Te Pae Mahutonga and the eight stars of Matariki can continue to guide health promotion for Indigenous peoples into the future.

Details of Sir Mason’s presentation can be found on the IUHPE2019 website.



Two students who attended the Certificate of Achievement in Introducing Health Promotion course last October, say the course was an invaluable learning experience.

Abraham Larsen, the Health Improvement Advisor, Education Team at Toi Te Ora Public Health in the Bay of Plenty, Lakes District said he found the Certificate of Achievement in Introducing Health Promotion course especially helpful as he had only been in public health a few months.

“It helped me to ‘bed in’ concepts and terminology that I’d heard throughout my entry into the PHU I work for,” he explained.

Abraham Larsen and Ifalame Teisi appreciated how much they learned about health promotion at the short course

“Through connecting with other participants from different areas, I was able to see the breadth of public health and how it can be practised in Aotearoa. I was also inspired by the passion of the other participants.”

A highlight for Mr Larsen was the facilitation by the course coordinator HPF’s deputy executive director Trevor Simpson.

“Not only did Trevor share his vast amount of knowledge, he was able to weave in our own experiences and stories in order to whakamana the participants.”

Mr Larsen also appreciated being with other participants from different areas.

“I was able to see the breadth of public health and how it can be practised in Aotearoa.”

Church leader, Mr Teisi said he would highly recommend the course to social and community workers who love working with families within Maori and Pacific Islands communities.

He said he now felt more confident when dealing with the community.

“I learned a great deal about health and wellbeing and strategies of how to promote community-based views towards health and wellbeing.”

Mr Teisi said he now had knowledge of what health promotion is and how it differed  from health education for example.

“I highly recommend this course to social and community workers who love working with families within our Maori and Pacific Islands communities.”

Apply now to gain your Certificate of Achievement in Introducing Health Promotion. Enrolment applications need to be submitted before the course start date.

Location:       WELLINGTON
BLOCK ONE: Tuesday 29 October – Friday 1 November, 2019
                        BLOCK TWO: Tuesday 26 – Friday 29 November, 2019
Venue:            Sisters of Compassion, 2 Rhine St, Island Bay.
Cost:               $512.50 Members and Non-Members
A limited number of scholarships are available. Please contact or phone 09 300 3734 for an application or for more information. Criteria conditions apply.


Global, Pacific
Dr Viliami Puloka

Dr Viliami Puloka, HPF’s Pacific Strategist looks back at the amazing Pacific experience at IUHPE2019 in Rotorua.

Fakafeta’I, malo lava, vinaka vakalevu are the words that come to mind – hearts full of joy and gratitude to be part of this world-wide event right here at home in Aotearoa New Zealand.

All the Pacific participants especially those from the islands were so thrilled and appreciative of the fact that they did not have to paddle far to get here. It was only a three-hour flight from Tonga, Fiji, Samoa, Vanuatu, Kiribati, Solomon Islands and New Caledonia. It confirmed the fact that Aotearoa is squarely part of the Pacific islands. 

Arriving in Rotorua was heart-warming to many who thought New Zealand was the land of the palangi.  But all were excited to meet and share the experience of their Maori cousins. Many commented on the spiritual experience they had during the Powhiri, which reminded them of their own version at home.

Some were moved to tears when exchanges the “breath of life” with Maori delegates while walking between sessions or at various meeting venues.

We really felt at home and immediately identified with our Maori cousins and their environment. When Tamati Kurger spoke, we were already in awe, excited, joyful, appreciative and motivated for action. It was a big deal for us to come in to a very enabling, encouraging and empowering environment. That really prepared our hearts and minds to focus on the contents of the conference.

Pacific Community (SPC) commitment and partnership through sponsorship of participants to attend, give presentations led by the Director General Colin Tukuitoga as one of the Plenary speakers shows great leadership and very much appreciated.

 A highlight for Pacific Youth was the SPC Pacific Youth WAKE UP art project unfolds itself through out the days of the conference. It was a call on young people to wake up to the facts that “today is the tomorrow you dreamt about yesterday”. What you do today as far as Noncommunicable diseases are concerned will return to haunt you at your later years.