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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 average population is nearly 59,000 (according to the 2018 census) with 8.6 percent identifying as Maori. The population is increasingly more culturally diverse with an active migrant community including a refugee resettlement programme. The median age is 44.8 years and more than half of people (64 percent) live in rural areas.

Local Te Mana Ora | Community and Public Health work aligns to the strategic priorities of Health NZ | Te Whata Ora Te Pae Tata Interim New Zealand Health Plan 2022. 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 – from early childhood education, primary and secondary schools to tertiary providers.

The South Canterbury Child Nutrition and Oral Health Promoter is based at Te Mana Ora | Community and Public Health and works with the community to create environments that promote good oral health from an early age. This work includes:

  • Supporting WAVE early childhood education and schools to promote oral health; and
  • Co-ordinating the roll-out of Te Hā o Aoraki (daily toothbrushing programme).

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.

Consultation open on Waimate District draft Annual Plan 2024/25

The Waimate District Council has produced an enhanced 2024-25 Annual Plan – rather than a Long Term for 2024 to 2034.

The Long Term Plan was deferred after the Government gave local authorities the flexibility to defer their Long Term Plans amid uncertainty around the future of three waters service delivery.

“We will be in a much better position next year to make a Long Term Plan when we have more clarity about which rules and regulations will be in place,” Mayor Craig Rowley says.

There will only be two years between the next two Long Term Plans to bring the three-yearly planning cycle back into line.

Council is proposing an overall rates increase of 13.8 percent in 2024/25 and is seeking feedback on how they manage the increase. This will not be welcome news to ratepayers and members of the community.

Mayor Craig Rowley said there was no ‘magic fix’ to reduce rates rises.

“We are aware this comes at a financially difficult time for some people. Unfortunately we are not immune to inflation and bear many of the same cost pressures as everyone else.”

“This draft plan is one that allows us to maintain current levels of service and prioritises looking after our existing assets. We cannot allow our existing assets to fall into a state of disrepair. We must take care of what we have.”

Submissions close at noon on Friday 24th May 2024.



HealthInfo South Canterbury/ Aoraki.

Page last updated: 13/05/2024

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