Public health units

Regional public health services are delivered by 12 district health board-owned public health units (PHUs), and a range of non-government organisations. District health board-based services and non-governmental organisations each deliver about half of these services.

Public health units focus on environmental health, communicable disease control, tobacco control and health promotion programmes. Many of these services include a regulatory component performed by statutory officers appointed under various statutes, though principally under the Health Act 1956. 

Statutory officers

Most statutory officers are designated by the Director-General of Health under the Health Act 1956. These officers – medical officers of health and health protection officers – are accountable to, and subject to direction from, the Director-General. This ensures central oversight of regulatory functions. The majority of these officers are employed in DHB-based public health units. 

The Director-General also appoints statutory officers under a range of other Acts, in particular the Smoke-free Environments Act 1990, the Tuberculosis Act 1948, and the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996. City and district councils also appoint environmental health officers under the Health Act, who assist councils to perform their environmental health functions under the Act.

Public health units and districts covered

Northland District Health Board

Districts covered: Northland

Auckland Regional Public Health Service

Districts covered: Tamaki Makaurau - Auckland

Waikato District Health Board

Districts covered: Waikato, Ruapehu (Northern part)

Toi Te Ora - Public Health

Districts covered: Eastern Bay of Plenty, Tauranga, Rotorua and Taupo

Tairawhiti District Health Board

Districts covered: Gisborne/Tairawhiti

Hawke’s Bay District Health Board

Districts covered: Hawke’s Bay and Chatham Islands

Taranaki District Health Board

Districts covered: Taranaki

MidCentral District Health Board

Districts covered: Manawatu, Whanganui, Ruapehu (Southern part)

Regional Public Health

Districts covered: Wellington, Hutt Valley, Wairarapa

Nelson-Marlborough District Health Board

Districts covered: Nelson-Marlborough

Community and Public Health

Districts covered: Canterbury, South Canterbury, West Coast

Public Health South

Districts covered: Otago, Southland

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