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Health Promotion Forum of New Zealand Runanga Whakapiki Ake i te Hauora o Aotearoa
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Maori identity is the key philosophy behind the Māori Concepts of Health Promotion workshop says the course facilitator and Deputy Executive Director of the Health Promotion Forum of New Zealand, Trevor Simpson.

The workshop held in Wairoa on May 7 and Blenheim (registrations still open) on June 1 aims to introduce participants to shared understandings of traditional Māori concepts, ideologies and practices in relation to health and wellbeing.

Additionally the workshop will consider how these ideas may be used to inform modern-day approaches to Māori health promotion planning, implementation and evaluation.

“The course looks at world views and how those traditional world views can inform contemporary Māori practice,” says Mr Simpson.

With the recent developments in relation to Whanau Ora the programme provides a basis for discussion in terms of what constitutes a well Māori community and whether traditional knowledge has the potential to elevate Māori health status and improve Māori health outcomes.

To register or for more information on the Blenheim workshop contact Emma Frost at or 09 300 3734 or click here.

The workshop will be held at St John, Marlborough, 93 Seymour St, Blenheim. Map

Course Facilitator, Trevor Simpson is the Deputy Executive Director and Senior Health Promotion Strategist with the Health Promotion Forum of New Zealand. Trevor has a background in community development, Māori social development, Treaty settlements and Māori health promotion. He is committed to Māori health promotion as an important vehicle to improving Māori health outcomes and Māori community development.




You can now submit abstracts for the World Conference on Health Promotion that will be held in New Zealand next year.

Submissions for the 23rd International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE) World Conference on Health Promotion to be held in Rotorua from April 7 to 11 can be made in English, Spanish, French and Maori.

The Health Promotion Forum of New Zealand (HPF) is hosting the conference in association with the IUHPE.

All abstract submitters, including individual contributors, are encouraged to interact and collaborate with other presenters and participants wherever possible. Participatory, collaborative and non-traditional session formats will be given priority in the selection process.

Abstracts can be submitted in eight different formats: symposium; workshop;  research oral/poster presentation; innovation in policy and practice oral/poster presentation; round table discussion; alternative showing/new technology;  alternative showing/art and lunch with an author.

The committee is encouraging submissions to match the sub-themes of the conference. Abstracts can be submitted under one of the four conference sub-themes:

Health equity 
Ensure health equity throughout the life course, within and among countries, making each member of the global society an empowered lifelong learner.

Inclusive habitats 
Make all urban and other habitats inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable and conducive to health and wellbeing.

Climate change adaptation strategies 
Design and implement effective and fair climate change adaptation strategies.

Build effective, accountable and inclusive governance 
Build effective, accountable and inclusive governance at all levels that promotes, peace, justice and respect of human rights.

For further information on each of these formats please click here

For instructions on how to submit an abstract and all guidelines please visit our website.

The deadline to submit an abstract is August 31, 2018.




“Let your garden be your health and your health be your garden” 

By Dr Viliami Puloka, Senior Health Promotion Strategist

New Zealand Health Promotion Forum

When Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine some 2500 years ago said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”, I can assure you he was not talking about fast food like cheese burgers, fizzy drinks and French fries. He was talking about fresh produce from people’s home gardens. Being the top physician of his time and a leading scientist in the field of medicine, he knew the importance of whole food /good healthy food in providing fuel for healthy living. Consumption of foods that are highly processed, but empty of proper nutrients is one of the key drivers of the obesity and diabetes pandemic the world is facing today.

The New Zealand Ministry of Health report in 2016/17 showed that nearly 100,000 children are obese (12.3%) and 32% of adults which is about 1.2 million men and women. The prevalence of diabetes is estimated to be 7% overall but threefold among Pacific and Maori communities.

Eating fresh food, locally grown in home gardens, is a very good way to prevent and control chronic diseases including diabetes and obesity.

The health benefits of growing your own food are well documented. You are in control of what to grow. You are not dependent on food produced by someone you do not know, whose interest is your money not your health. Growing your own garden provides opportunities for physical activity which is required for good health. One can also enjoy fresh air, sunshine and direct engagement with Mother Nature, which is good medicine for the whole person.

Here in New Zealand we are very fortunate to have such fertile soil and good climate for gardening. Many people still grow food in their own gardens. The challenge is the ever-increasing amount of readily available imported processed food that competes with traditional local cuisines.

I would like to suggest that the way forward to good health Includes home gardening. A healthy garden needs good soil, good seed and a good dose of TLC (Tender Loving Care). TLC includes watering, feeding, weeding, protecting from sun, frost and too much wind throughout the life of your garden.

Likewise, when you look after your health, you also need a good dose of TLC. Caring for your body begins with you respecting your body by having a balanced healthy diet, regular physical activity and having fun. Equally important is having enough rest and relaxation, avoiding poisons such as tobacco, alcohol and negative thoughts. Good soil to grow your health is good people surrounding you with knowledge, skill and experience willing to build you up.

We can tell if we have a good garden by the quality and quantity of our harvest. We know if we are in good health when we are physically fit, mentally sharp, socially well connected and spiritually at peace with ourselves, our loved ones, family and friends.

“Let your garden be your health and your health be your garden.”

Dr Viliami Puloka



Whānau Ora Minister Peeni Henare commended the collective effort of Maori and Pasifika providers to collaborate with families and whanau to improve their health and wellbeing.

Whānau Ora is about families and whanau taking leadership and ownership of their wellbeing and future, the minister said at his first meeting with Pasifika leaders and health and social service providers in Auckland on April 16.

He added that the Whānau Ora initiative will be reviewed.

“This Government has a unique opportunity to work together with communities to achieve ambitious goals that focus on real outcomes for whānau,” Mr Henare said.

The review will assess the ability of the Whānau Ora Commissioning model to make sustainable changes in the wellbeing and development potential of whānau.

“One major strength of Whānau Ora is being comprehensive, covering most of the major determinants of health such as education, income and housing,” said the Executive Director of the Health Promotion Forum (HPF), Sione Tu’itahi who was at the meeting.

“Pacific and Maori are group-oriented, which is the approach of Whānau Ora, tapping into the strengths of the collective to take charge of their wellbeing and future,”  Mr Tu’itahi said.

Whānau Ora is an approach that places families/whānau at the centre of service delivery requiring the integration of health, education and social services  It recognises the collective strength and capability of whānau to achieve better outcomes in areas such as health, education, housing, employment and income levels.

From left: HPF Executive Director Sione Tu’itahi with the Minister for Whanau Ora Peeni Henare, and Dr Viliami Tutone, a renal physician and Pacific community leader





Evidence proving that eating the right food is vital for positive aging was the theme of a symposium for 100 health professionals at Massey University on April 11.

The one-day event entitled Evidence-based Nutrition for Positive Aging featured a line-up of international speakers and leading professionals with both academic and practical experience in applying the latest nutrition research findings to best practice.

HPF’s senior health strategist Viliami Puloka who specialises in Pacific Health said the clear message from the symposium was that eating the right food was crucial in helping people to “age with dignity”.

A public health physician with a special interest in obesity and diabetes Dr Puloka said he was excited about all the facts that were presented at the event.

“The symposium was an excellent demonstration of how evidence and science proves that the right food, combined with exercise, will help you live longer.  There was a lot of evidence that the best food is natural or whole food. This combined with exercise and physical activity, even in old age, is crucial. The research proves that really it is your lifestyle that is still key to improving health or wellness.”

Dr Puloka said evidence presented at the symposium backed the benefits of a plant-based diet and good quality carbohydrates, as well as the negative effects of the processed food consumed by so many people today.

He said findings also suggested the abundance of supplements, especially for older people, on the market were second best. “The big message from there was ‘food is the best medicine.’”

However, Dr Puloka pointed out that there was a gap between evidence and practice which needed to be addressed. Researchers had done their bit and had provided all the evidence and analyses but individuals needed to be empowered and motivated to act on this evidence and change their lifestyle he said.

“How do we translate the findings and evidence from the research to inform health promotion practice, developing interventions that are meaningful and relevant to everyday life? All the speakers concluded that lifestyle changes for lifetime health and wellness is key. But for that to happen, evidence alone is not enough.”

Dr Puloka said there needed to be a social, political and economic commitment to provide the environment to support one’s choice to live healthily.

Environmental, economic and social factors are all important determinants of the behaviours and choices that influence health outcomes. Government and social society need to engage.


Guest Editors:

Dr. Heather Castleden 

Canada Research Chair in Reconciling Relations for Health, Environments, and Communities, Queen’s University, Canada.

Dr. Debbie Martin

Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Health and Wellbeing, Dalhousie University, Canada.

Dr. Mihi Ratima

Director, Taumata Associates, New Zealand.

As part of a project developed in collaboration with, and supported by, the Public Health Agency of Canada, the International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE) will develop, publish and broadly disseminate a Supplement Issue of its Journal Global Health Promotion (GHP) on Indigenous Health Promotion.

While the link between healthy lands and healthy people has been known, embodied, and taught in Indigenous contexts for hundreds of generations, the arrival of the European settler population (1600s onward) in the Americas from Turtle Island (North America) through Central and South America, Australia, and  Aotearoa /New Zealand (and elsewhere) brought about rapid deterioration in the health status of Indigenous peoples due in large part to environmental dispossession and colonial/racist policies and practices. In spite of this, Indigenous peoples remain resilient, hopeful, and strong in their efforts to reclaim, protect, and heal their relationships to the land, however different those relationships may look today across different jurisdictions. With this in mind, we are pleased to solicit scholarly original papers under the theme of “Whenua Ora: Healthy Lands, Healthy Peoples” to form the contents of this Supplement issue.

Publication and dissemination to coincide with the 23rd IUHPE World Conference on Health Promotion which will take place in Rotorua, Aotearoa /New-Zealand, on April 7-11, 2019.

To learn more about this supplement issue and how to submit an abstract, click here to read the full call.

Submission deadline20 March 2018
Acceptance deadline: 10 April 2018
Online submission of full article: By 1 July 2018
Publication: March 2019


HPF and STIR celebrated the launch of Te Tiriti o Waitangi-based health promotion practice yesterday at the Health Promotion Forum with a boutique gathering of some of the village that have championed its construction. co-authors – Nicole Coupe, Trevor Simpson, Claire Doole, Grant Berghan, Jonathan Fay, Tim McCreanor. Looking forward to seeing how this project unfolds.

Te Tiriti o Waitangi-based practice in health promotion

 Download a copy of this resource.

Photos: Denis Came-Friar