Healthy Families NZ

Healthy Families NZ is large scale initiative which aims to improve people’s health where they live, learn, work and play, for the prevention of chronic disease.

What is Healthy Families NZ?

Healthy Families NZ is a large-scale initiative that brings community leadership together in a united effort for better health.

It aims to improve people’s health where they live, learn, work and play by taking a systems approach to the reduction of risk factors for major health loss and inequity.

The Healthy Families NZ teams work collaboratively with local leaders and organisations to identify, design and implement changes to help people make healthier choices and live healthier lives. These environments include, but are not limited to early childhood education settings, schools, workplaces, food outlets, sports clubs, marae, businesses, places of worship, local governments, and more to create healthier environments for all.

Healthy Families NZ builds on existing action underway in the community to create an integrated, community-wide “prevention system” for good health.

The focus issue areas for Healthy Families NZ include increased physical activity, improved nutrition, more people smokefree and reduced alcohol-related harm.

A unique approach

Healthy Families NZ focuses on the prevention of chronic disease through reducing risk factors for major health loss and inequity. Healthy Families NZ utilises a systems approach to ensuring New Zealanders enjoy health promoting social and physical environments that enable healthy food and physical activity choices.

Healthy Families NZ is unique in that it focuses on multiple risk factors for chronic disease, and takes a placed-based, whole-of-community approach that enables the initiative to be driven by local leadership and responsive to the local context.

Healthy Families NZ reflects and aligns with international best practice evidence that supports a comprehensive and coordinated approach to chronic disease prevention through locally driven action in settings that is sustained over the longer-term. The importance of creating healthy environments across a range of settings is implicit in the design and delivery of Healthy Families NZ.

The approach of Healthy Families NZ utilises a te ao Māori lens, with an explicit focus on equity that reflects the intent of improving Māori health, and reducing inequalities for groups at increased risk of chronic disease.

Because Healthy Families NZ is about locally driven solutions to local needs, the kinds of initiatives delivered in each location will be different.

Who is involved in Healthy Families NZ?

There are ten Healthy Families NZ locations.

A range of locally based organisations are leading Healthy Families NZ in their specific communities – including: iwi organisations, councils, Pacific led organisations, and regional sports trusts.

These organisations are responsible for bringing together partnerships of key organisations and individuals who can influence transformational change in their communities.

A skilled prevention team is also established in each site to coordinate action and enable leadership that will drive the necessary changes to support good health.

The following locally-based providers were selected through a competitive tender process to lead Healthy Families NZ in their communities.

  • Healthy Families Far North: Te Rūnanga o Whaingaroa
  • Healthy Families Waitakere: Sport Waitakere
  • Healthy Families Manukau, Manurewa-Papakura: The Southern Initiative (Auckland Council) and Alliance Community Initiatives Trust (ACIT)
  • Healthy Families Rotorua: Te Arawa Whānau Ora (in joint partnership with Kowhai Health Associates)
  • Healthy Families East Cape: Te Ao Hou Trust
  • Healthy Families Whanganui, Rangitikei Ruapehu: Te Oranganui Iwi Health Authority
  • Healthy Families Lower Hutt: Hutt City Council
  • Healthy Families Christchurch: Sport Canterbury
  • Healthy Families Invercargill: Sport Southland.

How were the Healthy Families NZ communities selected?

The 10 Healthy Families NZ communities come from areas with higher-than-average rates of preventable chronic diseases (such as diabetes), higher-than-average rates of risk factors for these diseases (such as smoking), and/or high levels of deprivation. It has the potential to impact the lives of over a million New Zealanders.

The 10 communities are geographically spread and are a mixture of urban and rural areas that cover a population of over one million New Zealanders. This ensures that Healthy Families NZ will be able to provide valuable evidence on what works for a diverse range of communities. 

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