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Community and Public Health on the West Coast (Greymouth)

Te Mana Ora | Community and Public Health provides public health services to the nearly 33,000 people live in the Buller, Grey and Westland Districts. The region covers the region between the Southern Alps and the Tasman Sea, and runs a distance of 600km from Kahurangi Point in the north to Awarua Point in the south (similar to the distance between Auckland and Wellington). This makes the West Coast | Te Tai Poutini one of the most sparsely populated regions in New Zealand.

The West Coast has a diverse range of ethnicities with Māori making up 12 percent of the population, European 91 percent, Pacific Peoples 1.5 percent and Asian 3.4 percent – according to the 2018 Census.

The remote nature of many small and isolated communities poses specific health challenges around sewage treatment and disposal, and potable water.

The natural beauty of the area attracts more than 1 million visitors a year, largely during the spring and summer months. This level of tourist activity carries some environmental risks for recreational water contamination and infectious diseases, especially in popular destinations such as Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers and Punakaiki.

Enabling wellbeing and equity of outcomes for everyone on the West Coast

The Community and Whānau Wellbeing team of health promoters supports improving and maintaining the health and wellbeing (hauora) of West Coasters by connecting communities and supporting the creation of healthy and sustainable environments with Councils and other agencies.

We also support local community groups, schools and early childhood education centres to plan and reach their wellbeing goals. Our current initiatives focus on:

  • mental wellbeing;
  • Māori health;
  • healthy eating and food security;
  • physical activity;
  • healthy ageing and injury prevention;
  • supporting smoke-free environments;
  • working alongside key stakeholders to reduce alcohol related harm; and
  • healthy homes.

Te Mana Ora | Community and Public Health also provides a stop smoking service called Oranga Hā. Three quit coaches are able to provide free support, advice and nicotine replacement therapy (such as patches, gum and lozenges) to those wanting to quit smoking.

Te Mana Ora is a locality group partner of Takiwā Poutini for Te Tai o Poutini West Coast, so our staff are active members of several collaborative networks within the region across a range of health and wellbeing initiatives, such as:

  • West Coast Tobacco Free Coalition;
  • Safer Westland;
  • Buller Interagency Forum;
  • West Coast Disability Steering Group;
  • West Coast Housing Forum; and
  • Falls Prevention Coalition.

Other public health activities on the West Coast

The Health Protection Officers at Te Mana Ora are focused on dealing with environmental health issues and infectious diseases. They are also involved in emergency management, provide comment on resource consent applications and advice around drinking and recreational water.

The Greymouth office has a Community Health Information Centre, providing a range of health education resources from Health New Zealand and other providers.

Introducing Takiwā Poutini

Takiwā Poutini: People, place, wellbeing.Takiwā Poutini is a three-year West Coast pilot programme to improve health and wellbeing outcomes for all – particularly focused on Māori, Pacific peoples and people who experience disability.

We know we need to change the way our people and communities are supported and treated. Ideally, we’ll be creating a more holistic model that places people in the centre.

The health and wellbeing needs of people in our takiwā | locality are not the same as those of the people in other parts of Aotearoa. We want to improve the health and wellbeing of our West Coast people – no matter who they are, or where they live on Te Tai o Poutini.

Takiwā Poutini gives us all an opportunity to come up with our own solutions that are place-based.

The system co-design will particularly focus on iwi thoughts, ideas and recommendations about how to improve health and wellbeing outcomes.


Healthinfo West Coast.

Page last updated: 20/05/2024

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