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Community and Public Health in South Canterbury (Timaru)

The South Canterbury region covers the area between the Rangitata and Waitaki rivers. It includes the Timaru, Waimate and Mackenzie Districts.

The region’s population of more than 61,500 is mostly Pakeha. However it is becoming more culturally diverse with 7 percent Maori, 2.5 percent Asian and 1.1 percent Pacific people.

Many people in the region are aged over 65 years (20.4 percent). Also nearly 1 in 3 people in South Canterbury live in rural areas. This is nearly twice the level as for the rest of New Zealand!

Local Community and Public Health work aligns to the South Canterbury DHB’s (SCDHB) strategic priorities. Key focus areas for the work of the Timaru-based staff are:

  • healthy lifestyles;
  • child and adolescent health; and
  • reducing inequalities.

Health Promotion Activities in South Canterbury

WAVE (Well-being and Vitality in Education) is a major public health initiative in South Canterbury. This programme of intersectoral activities aims to create and support healthier environments for local children and young people. WAVE is unique to South Canterbury as it supports and enhances activities across the education sector – ranging from Early Childhood Centres to tertiary providers.

Community and Public Health also works with the South Canterbury DHB to support good oral health. The South Canterbury Child Nutrition and Oral Health Promoter works with the community to create environments that promote good oral health from an early age. This work includes:

  • Supporting WAVE Early Childhood Centres to promote oral health; and
  • Providing one-on-one dietary and oral health advice to families of children at high risk for developing dental caries.

Other public health activities in South Canterbury

Health Protection Officers provide assistance on environmental health issues and infectious diseases. They are also involved in biosecurity monitoring at the Port of Timaru, inspections and advice for Early Childhood Centres, and drinking water assessments.

The Timaru office also has a Community Health Information Centre, providing a range of health education resources from the Ministry of Health and other providers.

Long Term Plan consultation now open

Timaru District Council media release: 10th April 2021

Residents in the Timaru District are being asked help shape a community where everyone is Thriving Together.

The Timaru District Council Long Term Plan consultation document outlines the next decade of council activities and investments. The document gives everyone the opportunity to have their say on a variety of key topics facing the district, as well as other areas they think the council should focus on.

Mayor Nigel Bowen said that it was more important than ever for people to help shape the next decade of council business.

“About this time last year, NZ was in lockdown, battling an invisible enemy which has changed our world,” he said.

“In NZ, we have been one of the few countries where life has continued fairly normally. It hasn’t however come without its challenges, and this is far from the only challenge we are facing.

“For Timaru District to thrive together we need to start thinking and acting seriously on climate change, and the impact it may have on our district in the future. There are decisions needed on some big issues, including future development of the Aigantighe Art Gallery, Aorangi Park and Stadium and the regeneration of central Timaru.

“Our plan is unashamedly ambitious and innovative. To deliver on this, we’ll need money, people and action. These proposals come with a cost, and we recognise that this cost is higher than past LTPs.”

The consultation period runs until Monday 10th May 2021.



HealthInfo South Canterbury/ Aoraki.

Page last updated: 12/04/2021

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