Public health units

Regional public health services are delivered by 12 district health board-owned public health units (PHUs), and a range of non-governmental 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

  • Ngā Tai Ora - Public Health Northland
    Districts covered: Northland
  • Auckland Regional Public Health Service
    Districts covered: Tāmaki Makaurau – Auckland
  • Waikato Public Health Unit
    Districts covered: Waikato, Ruapehu (Northern part)
  • Toi Te Ora - Public Health
    Districts covered: Whakatāne, Tauranga, Rotorua and Taupō
  • Hauora Tairāwhiti
    Districts covered: Gisborne/Tairāwhiti
  • Hawke’s Bay District Health Board
    Districts covered: Hawke’s Bay
  • Taranaki Public Health
    Districts covered: Taranaki
  • MidCentral District Health Board
    Districts covered: Manawatū, Whanganui, Ruapehu (Southern part)
  • Regional Public Health
    Districts covered: Wellington, Hutt Valley, Wairarapa
  • Nelson Marlborough Public Health Service
    Districts covered: Nelson-Marlborough
  • Community and Public Health
    Districts covered: Canterbury, Mid Canterbury, South Canterbury, West Coast and Chatham Islands
  • Public Health South
    Districts covered include: Otago, Southland

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