Green Prescription Success Story: Michael Houia


For many years, Michael Houia had issues with many of his limbs. These included injuries with his elbows, a hip replacement and an ankle replacement. Each of these made it more and more difficult for him to get out and about, particularly after the last replacement which left him having to rely on crutches to get around.


Photo of Michael Houhia in the garden
Michael's GRx journey - Out with the crutches
and into the community garden

After a while, Houia had had enough and decided to do something else. “My goal was to get rid of my crutches,” said Houia after being reliant on them for over three years. So his GP referred him to the Sport Hawke’s Bay Green Prescription programme in March 2017.

“The first session I tried was the aqua session in Flaxmere. It was great because of taking away the weight-bearing. I’d never thought of going in the water to help get better movement of my body.”

Houia went back to the aqua sessions and joined in on some of the other sessions that Green Prescription offered, including a range of activities at the Camberley Community Centre. After just two months of making an effort to get in the pool and making his way to the centre for classes, Houia was able to discard the crutches and hasn’t looked at them since.

“I do a bit of walking everyday now,” said Houia after just finishing a class at the Camberley Community Centre. “It’s great for the mind and body and is much better than sitting around and watching TV.”


Not only has Houia found some positive impact in the Green Prescription sessions, but he has now taken charge of the community centre’s new vegetable garden.

“We knew we had this garden at the community centre,” said Houia. “Sport Hawke’s Bay’s Green Prescription Active Living Advisor called me and asked if I’d be interested in leading the way. I thought it’d be a waste if nothing happened so I’ve got the group at the centre involved and now we have a lot of vegetables growing.”

The Active Living Advisor has worked alongside Houia for the last year now and noted that “Michael is an inspiring participant. Not only has he overcome his barriers, but he now regularly attends activity and discussion sessions and his willingness to share his journey to encourage others is amazing.”

“We’ve found that for people like Michael, a Green Prescription can provide practical advice on finding an activity that suits them. It also provides a safe environment for them to give that activity a go and the opportunity to mix and support others who are experiencing similar journeys. Many new friendships are forged and new community groups emerge as a result. The Camberley Community garden is a prime example.”

For Huia, this part of his being active and healthy was more about giving back to the community. “Because that’s what it’s all about.”

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