Experts, What is HP

First New Zealand Health Promotion book

First New Zealand Health Promotion book

Promoting Health in Aotearoa New Zealand

Promoting Health in Aotearoa New Zealand was conceptualised as a text that equally integrates Māori and Pākehā analysis; consistent with an approach that emphasises the Treaty of Waitangi partnership and indigenous rights. The editors have endeavoured to achieve this through collaboration between Māori and Pākehā editors, advisors and contributors. Contributors to the book include: Professor Sir Mason Durie, Professor John Raeburn, Associate Professor Papaarangi Reid, HPF’s Executive Director Sione Tu’itahi, Associate Professor Cindy Kiro, and HPF’s previous Executive Director Dr Alison Blaiklock.

Health promotion in Aotearoa New Zealand has elements that, in combination, make for a unique approach.  Ratima explains: “Key features are the unique contribution of Māori understandings and approaches; the application of a rights-based approach for example in relation to Treaty of Waitangi-based rights and indigenous rights; the strong equity focus; commitment to addressing determinants of health; an emphasis on strengthening community development and self-determination; and the use of local models, frameworks and tools.”

There is very little text available that looks at health promotion in New Zealand – particularly as it relates to Māori. In fact Promoting Health in Aotearoa New Zealand is rare internationally for its strong focus on indigenous health. Frequently we refer to overseas texts when teaching and supporting public health practice.  Often these are not relevant to Māori, other New Zealanders or the New Zealand context. This has been of concern to health promotion academics and practitioners for some years.

“This book has been written to address that gap,” says Mihi.  It explores ways in which Māori, and other, perspectives have been melded with Western ideas to produce distinctly New Zealand approaches. In doing so it addresses the need for locally written material for use in teaching and practice, and provides direction for all those wanting to solve complex public health problems.

The book highlights the “dire threat” to the health of the planet – and all of us who live on it – from factors such as climate change, obesity and new infectious diseases. It concludes that progressive health promotion is an approach that can counterbalance threats to health with practice, policy and advocacy for health, well-being and equity.


HPF’s Executive Director Sione Tu’itahi was invited to speak a the book launch.  He was also a contributor to the book.

“…The process by which the book was produced, both in contents and presentation, reflects a successful partnership that resonates with the letter and spirit of our nation’s founding document, Te Tiriti o Waitangi; an example worth emulating. It also places Matauranga Maori (Maori knowledge)  prominently, while it weaves together the knowledge of the West, the knowledge of the East, and Indigenous knowledge systems as a set of effective solutions for addressing  our health challenges.

Although the primary focus is on Aotearoa, the book brings in the experience and knowledge of Moana Nui a Kiwa and other regions, thus making the book a very valuable contribution to our collective effort at the global level to address planetary health.

The recent launching of Promoting Health in Aoteroa New Zealand is very timely because:

– there is an increasing awareness in all sectors, government, community, and the corporate sectors, that  to be effective in addressing our socio-economic, cultural, physical, ecological and spiritual wellbeing, we have to be health promotional and preventative in our integrated approaches

– there is also a marked increase in the number of courses and qualifications on health promotion and public health in universities, polytechs and wananga. This book is a ‘must have’ reading and resources for all learners and practioners

– additionally, there is an increasing awareness in other sectors, such as social development and education, of the connectedness of the set of challenges that we all try to address, and therefore, the increasing need to learn from other sectors such as health and some of their comprehensive and effective tools and approaches such as health promotion

I would like to congratulate the hard-working editors, Associate Professor Louise Signal, and Dr Mihi Ratima.  Your perseverance, dedication, endless patience, and professionalism, have paid off. Well done!”







Jo Lawrence-King

7 October 2015