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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 Te Mana Ora | Community and Public Health work aligns to the strategic priorites of Te Whatu Ora South Canterbury. 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.

Te Mana Ora | Community and Public Health also works with Te Whatu Ora South Canterbury 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
  • Co-ordinating the roll-out of Te Hā o Aoraki (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.

Residents input needed for climate change strategy

Waimate District Council media release: 22nd November 2023

The Waimate District Council is asking its residents to help create a district-wide climate change strategy.

As the first step in the public engagement process for the strategy, a survey has been issued to gauge the sentiment around climate change in the district, allowing for a fit-for-purpose strategy to be developed.

It was important to have public input and an understanding of how the public viewed the issue, Climate Change Officer Andrew Oliver said.

“We want to create a strategy which works for us locally. It’s for the people by the people,” Andrew said.

Once the survey is collated, the next step is for a public presentation in March 2024, followed by a series of public workshops.

The strategy will cover the four wellbeings (environmental, economic, social and cultural) as defined under the Local Government (Community Well-being) Amendment Act 2019.

The consultation closes on Thursday 14th December 2023.

Shape the future of Timaru’s active transport network

The Timaru District Council is currently refreshing the district’s Active Transport Strategy. The refreshed strategy will set out how Council aims to improve active transport infrastructure (footpaths, cycleways, shared paths and rural trails) over the next 10 to 15 years to increase the number of people using active transport and improve their safety.

The Active Transport Strategy aims to identify key areas for improved active transport infrastructure. The strategy will also include an action plan for other supporting initiatives such as cycle skills education, cycle tourism promotion and bike parking.

The Strategy was drafted from public feedback received in September 2023 when the Council asked people what they thought about walking, cycling and other forms of active transport in the district.

This Active Transport Survey asks for community input about the shape of the proposed active transport network for the district.  Share your views and win one of the fantastic prizes on offer – such as e-bikes, mountain bikes, scooters and vouchers from DC Cycles Timaru.

You can give your feedback until midnight on Sunday 10th December 2023.

Plan to restore Waitarakao Washdyke Lagoon Catchment

Waitarakao Washdyke Lagoon The Timaru community is being encouraged to get involved in a collaborative project to restore the Waitarakao Washdyke Lagoon and its surrounding catchment.

Waitarakao Washdyke Lagoon is a coastal lake separated from the sea by a long stretch of mixed sand and gravel sediment. It is a special place for wildlife and mahika kai food gathering, but now it’s in decline and the habitat for plants and animals has degraded.

Improving the mauri (life force) of the lagoon will take cooperation across many agencies, organisations, groups and stakeholders.

That’s why we want the whole community to get involved in creating a strategy to plan for the future – to address problems with water quality, wildlife habitat, flooding, erosion, and the impacts of climate change.



HealthInfo South Canterbury/ Aoraki.

Page last updated: 27/11/2023

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