News, Uncategorized

Jenn Lawless brings a wealth of experience, including a strong background in Parliament, union advocacy, communications and campaigns, and public health to her new role as the first Chief Executive of the Health Coalition of Aotearoa.


Hauora recently caught up with Jenn, who joined the Coalition in May 2021, to see how she is settling into the role and about some of the main activities that the Coalition is currently involved in.


We also gained an insight into Jenn’s earlier years – what life was like growing up in a rural setting at Te Uku on Raglan Harbour and how this instilled in her a healthy respect for the environment.


Jenn also shares about how she ‘fell’ into politics and what she learned from her time in parliament, as well as how her ‘passion for public health’ developed.

HAUORA: We’d love to know a bit more about you. You live in Wellington but you’re originally from the Waikato Region where you grew up in a rural setting at Te Uku on Raglan Harbour. Can you tell us a bit about what life was like growing up in rural Aotearoa and what values were instilled in you as a result of your upbringing?


JENN: The natural environment I grew up in was very idyllic, and I had no idea at the time how lucky we were – there was a beautiful tidal estuary, and I learnt to ride, kayak, fish, care for animals and helped my father restore a small patch of native bush. We saw the changes in the biodiversity of that awa as local dairy conversions happened, with the river silting up and whitebait stocks and other fish declining. It was much later I realised this was an ongoing process of colonisation which disrespected the environment and original kaitiaki of that land. At an early age I had a sense that increasingly intensive extractive agriculture was putting profit over the health and sustainable systems of the natural world.



HAUORA: You’ve had a fair bit of involvement in politics, including working in parliament. What drove your interest in politics? what did you take away from that?


JENN: At the time, I felt like I fell into politics. My friend enrolled me in a political science course, and one of the assignments was to sit in the gallery. I was appalled at the quality of most of the behaviour and debate! And it made me angry that the people making the decisions didn’t seem to be the people affected by those decisions, or to understand the implications of them. Or even worse, perhaps not to care.


I ended up working in four parliamentary roles, including the Select Committee Office, an internship in the Government Whip’s office, and Parliamentary Service for the MPs Martin Gallagher, Labour MP for Hamilton West and then Kevin Hague, Health Spokesperson for the Greens. The latter was for nearly seven years.

On reflection, everyone’s view of society is driven by their lived experience. I was at the pointy end of the State as a young person with few resources. I saw the gap between my experiences and those of my peers, and a lack of understanding of different lives. My time in parliament showed me the many invisible, deliberate filters which reinforce existing privileges – those that get to make the decisions versus those that decisions are ‘done’ to. The lesson I learned is that community organising, empowerment and collective action are the only real ways to make lasting structural change.


HAUORA:: You also have a background in communications and campaigns. Can you please tell us a bit more about this, and how and when you became so passionate about health equity, health policy, and public health in particular?  


JENN: At university I did media studies, which I saw as an essential adjunct to political science in a mediated democracy. Most people don’t directly know those making decisions on their behalf, so rely on the media to decide whether leadership is ‘good’, and which issues are important. My most recent work was as a campaign adviser in the union movement – focusing on empowering working people to speak up and tell their own stories.

As a health consumer, in particular a young woman, I saw there was a power imbalance between my health literacy and decisions made on my behalf by clinicians. I was being put through processes and systems I didn’t understand how to navigate. My boss at the time encouraged me to study public health to better understand the policy work we were undertaking. This is when I realised health inequities are systemic and preventable – not just about individual knowledge or behaviour.


My passion for public health is that it fundamentally measures whether society fairly values all people. Does everyone have equal access to a long and healthy life? And if not, why, and how can we fix that?


HAUORA: It just seems like yesterday that we were congratulating you on your appointment to the Coalition, but you’ve now been there for more than three months. How have you settled in, and what were some of your main responsibilities/tasks as the ‘first’ Executive Director of the Coalition?


JENN: There’s a lot of work to be done! In the first few months I’ve spent time meeting some of our organisational members, expert panels, and Board members of course, and focusing on the internal policies and systems of the Coalition. We are quite a large organisation for our relatively small resources, so there are still many organisational and individual members I’m looking forward to meeting. I’m having many discussions with subject-matter experts around our core policy work and priority objectives for tackling preventable health loss.

HAUORA: Can you give us an update on the progress being made on of some of the activities the Coalition has recently been involved in, including the development of positive coordinated responses to the proposed new tobacco control measures and health sector reform, as well as coordinating efforts to respond to the new revamp of food regulations.


JENN: The Coalition’s Smokefree  Expert Panel put in a consensus submission fully endorsing the Government’s recent Smokefree 2025 proposals, which you can read more about here. We are looking forward to these proposals being enacted in the near future, and to provide expert input into the health evidence. We stand ready to support the proposals with domestic and international expertise throughout the policy development and implementation process.


Our Food Policy Expert Panel undertook a lot of work recently to put in a response to the update of the food regulations which are jointly held between Australia and New Zealand. This is quite a complicated process and system, which has big implications for public health. That’s why we issued a joint statement of health promoting organisations here and across the ditch, outlining concerns.


For those interested in the Food Policy Expert Panel’s full (42 page!) response from a New Zealand perspective, you can read more here.


HAUORA: What are some other main activities the Coalition will be focusing on in the near future and can we expect any new developments?


JENN: The Coalition has a formal working relationship with the Helen Clark Foundation and the MAS Foundation, funding Helen Clark Foundation Health Equity Fellow Matt Shand. Matt has been investigating the cost of alcohol harm in the community, using novel data from ACC. We are supportive of the Minister of Justice’s recent comments that the Sale and Supply of Liquor Act will be up for review, and our Roopuu Waipiro (Alcohol Expert Panel) looks forward to contributing their expertise to that process.


On Friday the 1st of October, the Coalition is holding its AGM from 10.30am – 12pm online. It’s open to all HCA members and is free.


You may also choose to donate after joining – as an independent voice on the commercial determinants of health, we are able to undertake our work through private donations.


HAUORA: Would you like to add anything?


JENN: The global Covid-19 pandemic has been a terrible experience for the mental and physical health of populations globally. But our government’s evidence-based response has given us great hope that this approach can be equally applied to other deadly risks to public health. New Zealand has shown it can lead the world in stamping out infectious disease. Now, let’s do the same to preventable harm from alcohol, tobacco, unhealthy food, and inequities in health outcomes. There’s never been a better time to join us.



Maori, News, Uncategorized
“Ko taku reo tāku ohooho, ko taku reo tāku māpihi mauria.” Koinei tētahi o ngā whakataukī ka pēnei mai te Māori. E ai ki ngā korero, ki nga whakaaro hoki, he tino taonga kē tō tātou reo rangatira. He tāhuhu ki te wharepuni, he toka ki te moana, he pounamu mai rānō . I tuku iho te kōrerorero nei mai ngā mātua , mai ngā tīpuna kia kore ai tō tātou reo, e rite ki te moa, ka ngaro.   There are profound reasons as to why we should uphold and maintain Te Reo Māori, the first and indigenous language of our beloved country. During Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori/Māori Language Week HPF encourages you to reflect on just how essential language is to one’s culture and its pivotal role in the sustenance of one’s identity and wellbeing/hauora – culturally, spiritually, mentally, and physically. The theme for Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori which launched yesterday to mark the day in 1972 when the petition for te reo Māori was presented to parliament remains: ‘Kia Kaha te Reo Māori!’. Go to for more information.
In 1972, 30,000 signatures were delivered to the NZ Parliament calling for te reo Māori to be taught in schools. It was a defining moment in the journey to revitalise the language. The aim is to grow one million speakers by 2040.
Of 7000-plus languages in the world today, at least 2000 are being threatened by extinction. The loss of a language is a loss to all of our human family. In our new reality of one global community, cultural diversity is as important as biodiversity. One simple way HPF suggests we can do to sustain all languages is to adopt an auxiliary language, in addition to each culture’s native language. Everyone can learn that same auxiliary language, alongside their mother tongue. Knowledge and communications can be facilitated effectively across cultural boundaries, while each culture retains and advances its distinct identity, wellbeing and contributions to its own wellbeing and our collective wellbeing.  

Competencies, News, Uncategorized

To further enhance the efficacy of health promotion, HPF is leading the development of an accreditation framework for health promoters and providers in New Zealand.

An important part of this process is the establishment of a national accreditation organisation (NAO), under the global accreditation framework of the International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE).

IUHPE is a global professional non-governmental organisation dedicated to health promotion around the world. For almost 70 years, IUHPE has been operating as an independent, global, professional network of people and institutions committed to improving the health and wellbeing of the people through education, community action and the development of healthy public policy.

At present, anyone can enter the field of health promotion and practise. This is because health promotion is a very broad field with many specialised activities such as leadership, research, policymaking, health education, community development and social marketing. Health promotion is a relatively new professional practice, still developing, and is not regulated.

While there are benefits in having a diverse workforce with a range of competencies, there are challenges. Some of these challenges are the vulnerability and lack of recognition of the workforce, maintaining the professional standards of training, and the safety and wellbeing of peoples and communities that health promoters work with.

To counter these challenges, and building on the 2012 Health Promotion Competencies for New Zealand, HPF is coordinating the establishment of the national accreditation organisation (NAO), under the global accreditation framework of IUHPE.

Some of the benefits for New Zealand health promoters are: 1) a formal recognition of their qualification and professional experience 2) enhancing the integrity of their profession while ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the peoples and communities they work with 3) national and international recognition of their unique, New Zealand-based cultural competencies 4) recognition of their competencies across national borders that can lead to finding health promotion roles in countries that are under this global system. 

Some of the benefits for providers of health promotion courses are: 1) an international recognition of their health promotion courses 2) enhancing the efficacy of health promotion and the quality of their courses while ensuring the wellbeing and safety of the workforce, and communities. 

In light of the benefits outlined above, and being an umbrella organisation for health promotion, and after much consultation with the health promotion sector and workforce over the years, HPF has decided to join the IUHPE accreditation system.  

To view the documents click here and here


Maori, News, Uncategorized

A report into hazardous drinking in New Zealand reveals that Māori who drink alcohol and live in deprived circumstances are less likely to have a harmful relationship with alcohol if they speak te reo Māori.

Figures on hazardous drinking among Māori which were crunched by the Health Promotion Agency, using three years of data from the New Zealand Health Survey showed the lower the socio-economic area a non-reo-speaking Māori person lived in, the more likely they were to drink dangerously.

HPF’s Deputy Executive Director and Maori Strategist Trevor says these findings are important as they give efficacy to the assertion that the Maori language is an important protective factor for the health of Maori.

“Once learned, Te Reo Maori effectively opens the learner to traditional notions of health and wellbeing- deeper understandings embedded in the language itself. In other words, Te Reo Maori can be viewed as a determinant of health for Maori.”

Hāpai Te Hauora GM Māori Public Health, Janell Dymus-Kurei says the report adds to the evidence that te reo Māori me ōna tikanga (Māori language, knowledge and traditions) are vehicles for wellbeing for Māori.

“Hopefully these findings will precipitate a new approach to health promotion which positions matauranga Māori at the centre. This is how we work in Māori public health and it’s time that the rest of the system caught up.”

Key findings from the report also show: Māori with higher levels of education are less likely to be hazardous drinkers and inequities among Māori and non-Māori persist across all age groups.   


News, Uncategorized

Leaders and organisations in the public health sector are being invited to use and support two legacy statements that were approved at the recent world conference on health promotion in Rotorua last April.

The Waiora Indigenous Statement, and the Rotorua Statement were endorsed by acclamation at the 23rd International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE) World Health Promotion Conference, co-hosted by HPF.

“The conference was significant for health promotion and public health,” according to HPF Executive Director Sione Tu’itahi. “The conference focused not only on the health of the planet and its people, its two statements also call for global actions on all levels, and to privilege Indigenous knowledge.”

They can be reference points for research, policy, learning, public health, health promotion and sustainable development practice, he added.

The documents have been sent to VIPs who were invited to the conference, heads of schools of public health and health promotion, professional health organisations, and HPF’s member organisations.

The statements can be viewed at:


Competencies, News, Uncategorized

If you haven’t already registered for HPF’s short course in health promotion then now’s the time as you’ve only got a few weeks until the second-to-last course for the year launches in Kaitaia next month.

Block one of the Certificate of Achievement in Introducing Health Promotion short course will be held at Te Hiku Hauora from September 3 to 6 and block two from October 1 to 4.

You can register at

Or if you’d like more details pop an email to

Past students have described the course which provides an introduction to the principles, concepts and practice of health promotion as a great learning experience, an eye-opener and invaluable in their day-to-day work.

Comments range from: “I have done some courses whereby Te Tiriti has been included and explained but not to this depth…” to “I now feel more confident to demonstrate my ability to solve expected day-to-day challenges in my community with parents and caregivers to improve health equity…”

“One student said: “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.”

The course covers the meaning of health promotion, determinants of health, the application of Te Tiriti o Waitangi to health promotion, the Ottawa Charter, an overview of key health promotion strategies and skills, values and ethics and learning and study skills.

A limited number of scholarships may be available.


Evidence, News, Uncategorized

A symposium to highlight the seriousness of scabies and boost treatment of the disease will be held at the School of Population Health in Auckland on September 13.

Improving Scabies Treatment: A Path to Health Equity in New Zealand will look at how common the disease is and why it should be taken more seriously.

The symposium will also examine ways that diagnosis of scabies can be improved; how treatment can be improved; what is known about the biology of the disease and whether scabies should be considered as a disease of public health importance?

The keynote speaker will be Dr Daniel Engelman from the Centre for International Child Health. Dr Engelman has studied the disease extensively in the Pacific.

Dr Simon Thornley of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Auckland University who will speak at the symposium told HPF that scabies had been left off the public health and research radar in New Zealand for so long, because it had been assumed to be a nuisance rather than a serious disease.

Dr Thornley said it was only until recently that evidence had emerged that scabies was strongly linked to diseases such as bacterial skin infection, post-streptococcal kidney disease and acute rheumatic fever.

“Strep throat is the traditional explanation about why Maori and Pacific children get acute rheumatic fever,” he said.

“We believe that improving treatment for scabies can reduce ethnic health inequality in this country.”

Dr Simon Thornley, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Auckland University

On why diagnosis of scabies was often missed Dr Thornley explained that scabies could be difficult to diagnose as it mimicked other skin diseases.

“If doctors don’t think about it, they may make an incorrect diagnosis,” he said.

“However, accumulating evidence suggests that this is not the case. A large government school campaign aimed at preventing rheumatic fever using this approach has yielded disappointing results. Acute rheumatic fever rates in Auckland remain high. Because of this apparent failure, we strongly believe that different approaches, such as aggressively diagnosing and treating scabies should be considered.

“Young children are most likely to be treated,” he said. “Scabies is known to be endemic in many Pacific Island nations, so this is likely to be part of the reason that there are high rates of prescribing for the disease in South Auckland.”

Dr Thornley said although it was not known exactly, drug dispensing data suggested that Maori and Pacific people in socioeconomically deprived regions of Auckland were most affected by the scabies.

Dr Thornley said it is hoped that the symposium will raise awareness of the need to improve scabies treatment in this country, given the strong link between scabies infestation and serious childhood diseases, including rheumatic fever.

“We believe that improving treatment for scabies can reduce ethnic health inequality in this country. The current model of relying on GPs to treat the disease does not seem to be working, so more public health attention and resource to adequately diagnosing and treating the disease, we think, should be considered.”

The meeting will be relevant to nurses, GPs, Paediatricians, public health professionals, public health researchers, scientists and anyone who is interested in the disease.

The Scabies Symposium will be a real eye-opener.

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.


News, Uncategorized
The Health Promotion Forum of NZ has commended Waka Ama New Zealand for sticking to its fizzy drinks ban at its national championship festival this week. First established in 2000, this year will be the 30th year for the festival, and its sixth year as a ‘fizz free’ event. As many as 10,000 people from all corners of New Zealand and the Pacific Islands have converged on the shores of Lake Karāpiro for the event which runs from January 15 – 19. HPF Deputy Executive Director and Maori strategist Trevor Simpson said, “seemingly small interventions can have far-reaching results. In a way what we are seeing is a reinstitution of the cultural norm of wai as the basis for life and wellbeing. We congratulate Waka Ama Aotearoa for their leadership and support for the fizz-free kaupapa.” Janell Dymus-Kurei, General Manager of Hāpai Te Hauora which has a regional public health team at the event said the event was a great example of leadership in Māori health. “The organisers have shown a strong commitment to oranga tinana through the promotion of physical activity which is embedded in te ao Māori. Through the adoption of a ‘fizz free’ stance, the festival also highlights the importance of the availability of water – wai Māori – to all whānau across the motu.” The event also comes at a time when the role of sugary beverages in poor health outcomes are again being questioned. The New Zealand Dental Association (NZDA) has called for sugary drink manufacturers to be forced to label their products with a teaspoon icon to clearly show how much sugar is in each beverage “We support this call by the NZDA for better labelling of beverages,” says Selah Hart, and HPF board member. “As a signatory to the NZDA-led consensus statement on sugary drinks, we appreciate the importance of good information for whānau when it comes to making choices about food and drinks.” Photo provided by Hāpai Te Hauora

Maori, News, Uncategorized
All New Zealanders are being encouraged to take part in Māori Language Week which launched on September 10. Nau mai ki Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori – Welcome to Māori Language Week Ngā mihi mahana ki a koutou i runga i tēnei kaupapa whakahirahira kua tau ki runga i a tātou katoa “The Māori language is one of the best ways to say ‘We are New Zealanders’. Everyone can help to celebrate and revitalise our country’s first language,” says Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta. Te Wiki o te reo Māori runs from September 10 – 16 with the theme ‘kia kaha te reo Māori’ or ‘let the Māori language live’. Mahuta says people can show their support for the language in many ways. “Mums, dads and grandparents can show active interest and support for their kids as they learn Māori at school. If the school is not providing any Māori language, families can ask them to start. “The business world and community groups can display bilingual signs to show te reo Māori is welcome in public and private spaces. “And everyone can try a simple ‘kia ora’ (hello) or ‘mā te wā’ (bye) as they go about their daily business. Each time you use Māori correctly it is a valuable gesture to restore it as an everyday language. It all adds up”. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern who visited Wellington High School on Monday  to mark the start of the week told students one of her biggest regrets was not learning how to converse in te reo Māori. In response to a student who asked how te reo and tikanga would be a part in her daughter Neve Te Aroha’s life she said: “Clark and I have only had very early discussions – we’re only 12 weeks in – but we’ve certainly got the books to be able to ensure that she’s learning te reo even through her early storytime,” Ms Ardern said. Ms Ardern congratulated Wellington High School for making it compulsory for all Year nine students to learn te reo. “Te Reo Māori me ona tikanga underpins Māori World views, values and beliefs. Custom, culture and language are inextricably linked,” says Trevor Simpson, Deputy Executive Director, HPF. “Learning Te Reo Māori is a fantastic way to build an understanding of Māori views on health and wellbeing. By saying “kia ora” to another person what we are actually saying is that we wish for the other person to be enveloped in wellbeing and this is articulated at the very first interface between two people.” Sione Tu’itahi, the Executive Director of the HPF says while HPF supports Māori language week our support will continue until next year when for the first time te reo Māori will be an official language at a global conference. Celebration of te reo Maori will be a highlight at the 23rd IUHPE World Conference on Health Promotion: WAIORA: Promoting Planetary Health and Sustainable Development for All in Rotorua from April 7-11 next year. “Our aim to sustain te reo Maori is always long-term. Given that we are co-hosting this world conference, it is only right that we honour te reo Maori this way …”

Global, Uncategorized
More speakers have been confirmed for the world conference on health promotion in Rotorua next year adding to the diverse line-up. They include respected indigenous leaders from around the world and New Zealand who will be sharing their knowledge and expertise at the 23rd International Union of Health Promotion and Education World Conference from April 7 to 11. Registrations  for the conference which is co-hosted by the Health Promotion Forum of New Zealand are now open and the call for abstracts has gone out. We take a look at: Dr Stanley Vollant, the first indigenous surgeon in Quebec, Canada; Sir Mason Durie, one of New Zealand’s most respected academics, knighted in 2010 for services to public and Māori health and Tamati Kruger, Māori advocate and social and political analyst. Dr Vollant who grew up in the Côte-Nord region of Quebec was exposed at a young age to the traditional teachings of his grandfather, which were marked by the importance of community values. He received his degree in medicine from the Université de Montréal in 1989 and his specialisation in general surgery in 1994. During the first annual “Stanley Vollant Challenge,” a six-kilometre walk to promote health and wellness he told CBC News that he wanted to inspire Indigenous youth across Quebec to follow their dreams, while also leading healthy lifestyles. He said it was important to bring Indigenous and non-Indigenous walkers together in the spirit of reconciliation. “My vision is to bring people to celebrate wellness and also to celebrate [being] all together, Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.” Sir Mason who was born in 1938, of Rangitane, Ngāti Kauwhata and Ngāti Raukawa descent, grew up in Feilding, where his hard-working parents showed him the importance of a strong work ethic. Between 1986-1988 he served on the New Zealand Royal Commission on Social Policy and in 1988 accepted a position at Massey University as Professor and Head of Te Pūtahi a Toi, School of Māori Studies.  Up until retirement in June 2012 he was Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Māori Research and Development. He has been at the forefront of a transformational approach to Māori health and has played major roles in building the Māori health workforce for more than 40 years. He has also championed higher education for Māori and has published widely on Māori health, Māori policy, the Treaty of Waitangi, Māori education and whānau development. In his book Nga Tini Whetu NAVIGATING MAORI FUTURES he says in the introduction that, “If there is a single message to this book, it is that Maori have the knowledge, skills and foresight to create a future where younger generations yet to come can prosper in the world, and at the same time live as Maori”. The model he created for healthcare, Te Whare Tapa Wha, successfully challenged the notion that health is the same for people of all cultures. He has also made significant strides with his work in mental health, and most recently, the prevention of suicide in Maori and Pasifika communities. During 2009 he chaired the Ministerial Taskforce on Whānau Centred Initiatives and from 2011 was chair of the Whānau Ora Governance Group.  In 2018 he was also a panel member for the Inquiry into Mental Health and Addictions. Upon being awarded the Blake Medal at last year’s Sir Peter Blake Leadership Awards Sir Mason told the NZ Herald: “The most important thing has been the difference to health. That’s where my career started and it’s continued to be what I spent most of my time doing. “It’s really how to make people more aware that health is not just a question for doctors and nurses, but a question people have themselves.” Mr Kruger is a Māori advocate and social and political analyst who has dedicated his career to the development of his iwi. From the Ngāti Koura, Ngāti Rongo and Te Urewera hapū of Tūhoe, Mr Kruger was instrumental in securing the largest Treaty of Waitangi settlement to date ($450 million) for the Central North Island Iwi Collective. He is now a director of CNI Holdings, representing Tūhoe. More recently, Mr Kruger was chief negotiator of the Tūhoe-Te Urewera Treaty of Waitangi Settlement. The landmark settlement included a Crown apology for historical grievances, a social service management plan for the Tūhoe rohe and a financial and commercial redress package totalling $170 million. The settlement also included legislative changes to transfer Te Urewera National Park to its own separate legal entity, looked after by the Te Urewera Board, of which Mr Kruger is chair. Mr Kruger’s contribution is not limited to his tribe. He chaired the Second Ministerial Māori Taskforce on Whānau Violence and developed the Mauri Ora Framework and was awarded the Kahukura award in 2013 in recognition of this work. In an interview with Asia Pacific Report he said an important part of leadership involved navigating the difference between Māori and Pākehā politics. “Part of the blessing of Pākehā politics is you have this apparatus called law, where you can bend people to one’s will. But in Tūhoe politics you have to depend on your reputation and integrity for people to find that whatever you have to say has some wisdom and truth in it.” The official languages of the conference are English, Spanish, French and in a world-first for Māori and other indigenous cultures Te Reo Māori. Abstracts must be in by August 31 and submissions can be made in the official languages.  

Global, Uncategorized
Abstracts for the World Conference on Health Promotion that will be held in New Zealand next year must be in by August 31. 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 Te Reo Māori. The Health Promotion Forum of New Zealand (HPF) is hosting the conference in association with the IUHPE. The approximate date of acceptance of abstracts is October 22 and all abstracts must be submitted through this online form. 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.    

News, Uncategorized
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.  

Without a doubt, a stand out figure from the health promotion, public health and global health sectors is Colin Tukuitonga.  Speaking from Noumea, Colin shared some thoughts with us on his current work, public health issues for Pacific Nations and changes in health promotion over the years. Thank you for your time this afternoon Colin, firstly, what proportion of The Pacific Community (SPC) work would you identify as health promotion? Given the broad scope of my organisation’s mandate in food security, fisheries management & education, agriculture, public health, human rights and geoscience, this is difficult to answer however all of these things at one level or another are health promoting in their outcomes. We have a separate public health programme that has a large health promotion component and we work in 26 countries. What are the biggest public health issues in the Pacific nations? Most definitely non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Obesity affects three out of every four adults. We also have the increasing issue of obesity in childhood. All islands were part of developing the Pacific NCD roadmap with specific recommended actions. One of these was to introduce a tax on sugary drinks. Another was an increase in tax on tobacco.  The Pacific NCD roadmap is essentially a blueprint for the islands to follow. Some are active on this. Others less so. However, we expect all islands to implement a sugary drink tax. Communicable diseases can affect some islands for example tuberculosis in Papua New Guinea. How do you see the role of health promotion in addressing these issues? Without a doubt this is where we need to be overall but resourcing places constraints on this. Many islands are doing their best to help but again, more often than not, hospital and treatment services take up the lion’s share of funding. We do what we can at SPC to encourage island nations to invest in core public health functions but it is challenging. You have signalled SPC’s strong support for the 2019 World IUHPE conference to be held in NZ. What do you see as SPC’s role at the conference? We have three roles. Firstly, general support for the hui. It is just fantastic that we get to have this event in this part of the world. Secondly, we are planning to provide some financial support. Thirdly, and most importantly, our role is to facilitate an opportunity at this global event for small islands to  share concerns and then work together, to take strength and to think about a way forward as an organisation of small islands. That is what we would hope to achieve. Climate change is a major issue facing the peoples of the Pacific. What actions do you think are necessary to address this global environmental issue? We made significant gains with the Paris Agreement, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.  Now with US withdrawing from that, it may take us back to before the agreement so trying to maintain momentum is really difficult. We need political support from many to honour the Paris Agreement. Without this we will be going backwards. Pacific nations have put a lot of energy into the agreement particularly the recommendations to limit emissions and enable funds for good work. Right now we are at risk of inertia with the US not agreeing to continue. How do you see public health and health promotion developing over the years? Well when I started people talked about more traditional quarantine measures, or the role of legislation to regulate behaviours or control diseases. We’ve come a long way since then. The watershed moment for me was the emergence of the Ottawa Charter. This changed things from a conventional public health approach to one of empowerment of communities and of developing healthy public policy. For me it is about continuing this Ottawa Charter type approach and supporting nations to invest more in health promotion practices. To undertake things like health impact assessment and environmental impact assessment when large development projects are on the table. We have a range of tools to choose from but in general these are not always applied consistently. Having worked in both New Zealand and the Pacific, how would you characterise the relationship between the two? In some areas it is going well however I would say there seems to be a general lack of awareness in New Zealand about what is happening in the Pacific regions. I do note though that there is more and more interaction taking place. We could learn a lot from the health promotion models and ideas in New Zealand. Smoking continues to be a significant problem in the islands.  We are impressed with New Zealand’s smoke free work. Are there any other pointers from your recent work we could learn from? Recently I was part of the World Health Organisation Global Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity as a commissioner. From that we produced a final report with a set of recommendations and cost-effective measures for ending childhood obesity. New Zealand and Pacific nations have been slow to pick these up. One would hope governments provide leadership and look seriously at the recommendations of this report.

Previously medically-focused, the University of Otago’s Department of Public Health has broadened its programme to embrace a range of disciplines including nursing, health promotion, nutrition, social work, physiotherapy and others interested in public health. The new Public Health programmes now offer greater flexibility for students, and the opportunity for general as well as new discipline-specific qualifications, says convener of the University of Otago, Wellington (UOW) Department of Public Health programme, Associate Professor Diana Sarfati.  “Public health is a diverse and vital area, encompassing all aspects of our lives.  Students can develop skills in health promotion, epidemiology, health economics, environment and health, public health research, hauora Māori, how society affects health, and much more.” Public health training opens up a number of career opportunities, she says.   “Regardless of which aspect of public health interests you, it is a field in which you will really make a difference.” The programmes continue to be offered from all three campuses in Dunedin, Christchurch and Wellington and enquiries are welcome from those with an undergraduate degree in any discipline. The latest new 15 point papers are taught in half semester terms enabling students to structure their study around family and work commitments. There are 21 papers on offer, including several distance options, providing students the opportunity to put together a broad programme of study, or tailor their qualification to their interests. Enrolments for 2015 are now open, visit for further information. Courses begin at the end of February 2015. university-of-otago-public-health   Jo Lawrence-King 1 December 2014  

-An employment service by Framework Workfocus aims to provide employment support for mental health clients for a range of ethnicities. The Workfocus team, based in Epsom, is comprised of ten employment consultants, including Asian consultants. Clients access the service through any form of referral, however, those approaching the service themselves must acknowledge their mental illness. Clients and consultants work in partnership in seeking employment and the client must be motivated to find work. Consultants support clients in all steps of the job application; including providing tips on filling in application forms and practising interview skills; however, clients must apply for jobs themselves. Workshops and training are also available (please contact Workfocus or Framework for more details). The employment consultants, covering different areas of Auckland, provide ongoing support to clients in their employment journey, until they achieve a year of employment. However the main focus of the service is on finding a desired and attainable job. According to Milly Zhang, an experienced employment consultant with the organisation, there are a number of challenges Asian clients might face when finding employment. Although they are usually hard workers and are motivated to find a job, their overseas qualifications and experiences are often invalid in New Zealand. Asian clients also face additional challenges as they adapt to a new social and employment environment. Workfocus has been providing its service for over four years. For more information regarding Workfocus, please e-mail Milly Zhang or call her on 021 976 556.