News & Events

World Smokefree Day: Commit to quit

7 April 2021

World Smokefree Day (31st May) is about celebrating and working towards smokefree/auahi kore lives for New Zealanders. The majority of New Zealanders are smokefree, and having smokefree whānau, whare, workplaces and public spaces is worth celebrating! Tihei manawa ora! Sneeze, the breath of life!

The theme for 2021 is Commit to Quit. Join others to take action and commit to quit or support someone who is going to commit to quit.

Nearly 84 percent of New Zealanders are smokefree – most of us are choosing not to smoke. We are slowly moving towards the NZ Government goal of being a smokefree nation to support the health and wellbeing of our families and whānau – so that by 2025 fewer than 5 percent of New Zealanders will smoke.

World Smokefree Day also provides an opportunity to encourage and help those who want to quit smoking and support friends and whānau on their quit journey.
For those who decide the time is right to quit, there’s more help available than ever.

It’s about freedom. It’s about whānau and being there for those you love. Take up the challenge and take a step towards a smokefree Aotearoa and quit smoking on 31st May – World Smokefree Day.

Become a smokefree role model for your children, tamariki and mokopuna

Commit to quit: world Smokefree Day 2021.The less smoking young people see around them, the less likely they are to become smokers themselves. It’s crucial to see younger people choosing not to smoke. 96 percent of 15 to 17 year olds are smokefree now, which a marked increase from 84 percent 10 years earlier. It’s critical we keep encouraging young New Zealanders to stay smokefree.

World Smokefree Day is also about creating environments where our children are free from exposure to tobacco. Parents feel very strongly about not exposing children to smoking, whether they are smokers or not. Children see their parents smoke and this has a strong effect on what they perceive as normal.

Parents, whānau and caregivers can make positive changes to the environment children are growing up in, even if they smoke. Talking to your children about smoking and establishing smokefree rules like not smoking around children, keeping the house and car smokefree is a fantastic start and a step in the right direction to protecting your children.

Workplaces and community spaces are also going smokefree

Many councils and employers are showing good manaakitanga (respect, support and care) by providing smokefree public spaces and support for smokefree workforces.

More and more businesses are going totally smokefree and getting help to support employees to become smokefree. Stopping smoking is really tough, but we know that doing it with support helps. Some local stop smoking services can provide face-to-face coaching at work, along with subsidised or free nicotine replacement therapy.

Increasing numbers of councils are declaring public places, spaces and events to be smokefree, including playgrounds, sports grounds and outdoor eating spaces.

Source: Health Promotion Agency and Hāpai Te Hauora websites.

Pink Shirt Day: Speak up and stop bullying

Join the Pink Shirt Day movement on Friday 21st May 2021 to stop bullying. Speak Up, Stand Together, Stop Bullying – Kōrero Mai, Kōrero Atu, Mauri Tū, Mauri Ora!

Pink Shirt Day is an anti-bullying campaign that celebrates diversity and creates environments where all people can feel safe, valued and respected. Each year workplaces, schools, organisations and individuals join the movement to make a stand against bullying.

Bullying is a serious issue in New Zealand. Every year, one in 10 workers report they have been bullied at work, and Aotearoa has the third-highest rate of school bullying out of 36 OECD countries. People who identify as part of the rainbow community experience higher rates of bullying, and studies show people who are bullied are more likely to experience mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety and even suicidal thoughts.

Pink Shirt Day; Speak up, stand together, stop bullying.

How you can get involved with Pink Shirt Day

Register as an individual or for your school or workplace to join the Pink Shirt movement.

The Pink Shirt Day website has lots of great ideas and ways you can show your support including:

  • posters or email signatures you can download; and
  • resources and merchandise that you can order.

Some facts about bullying

It isn’t uncommon to hear someone say something insensitive or mean to someone else. These comments or actions are not okay, but bullying has some specific features that make it much more serious and harmful.

  • Bullying is deliberate – harming another person intentionally.
  • Bullying involves a misuse of power in a relationship.
  • Bullying is usually not a one-off – it is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated over time.
  • Bullying involves behaviour that can cause harm – it is not a normal part of growing up.

Bullying can be:

  • physical – hitting, tripping up;
  • verbal – insults, threats;
  • social – spreading gossip or excluding people; or
  • cyberbullying – bullying online, via the internet, mobile phones and social media. It’s a common form of bullying, especially amongst young people.

Bullying harms the person being bullied, the person doing the bullying and can also harm those who witness it (bystanders).

We know people are more likely to be bullied if they seem different from their peers in some way. This might include being clever or popular, differences in race, sexuality, gender identity, ethnicity, religion, disabilities and abilities, weight or height.

It’s really important to remind people that it’s okay to be different from others and it’s not okay to bully people because they are not the same as you.

Source: Pink Shirt Day website.

Listen to young people during Youth Week

Youth WeekYouth Week is a nationwide festival organised by young New Zealanders. It is a time to recognise the:

  • amazing contributions and achievements of young people in New Zealand; and
  • youth workers, youth service providers and others working with and for young people.

The theme for Youth Week (8th to 16th May 2021) is “We are stronger together –  He waka eke noa.”

Ask yourself:

  • What does “we” look like?
  • What does “together” look like?
  • What does stronger mean to you?

You are encouraged to participate in a nationwide paper weaving craft project to celebrate Youth Week 2021! Send in strips of paper, card, fabric or something similarly bendable.

Express your strengths on that strip – through drawing, writing (in any language), colouring or whatever. Just no offensive language or visual brands please.

These strips will be woven together by a rangatahi rōpū in Carterton into a visual representation of being stronger together.

Ara Taiohi is an organisation for youth development in New Zealand. They want to showcases examples of people supporting young people across the country on their website. Share your story or nominate someone else by sending an email (communications[at], with the Subject: Story).

Source: Ara Taiohi website.

Immunisation Week: Protected together by getting immunised

Immunisation Week (3rd to 10th May 2021) is about raising awareness about the importance of immunisation to protect against serious illnesses. ‘Protected together’ is the theme for this year’s Immunisation Week. The theme highlights the need for high immunisation rates work to protect our tamariki, whānau, iwi and community from serious diseases.

Immunisation Week is an opportunity to celebrate the collective mahi of health professionals and families working together to make sure our communities are protected. Encouraging everyone in our communities to get immunised can reduce the spread of serious diseases – which benefits us all.

Disease outbreaks can have serious consequences for families and communities. Those who are not immunised – whether that’s by choice or other circumstances – are worst affected by these outbreaks. Outbreaks in schools or early childhood centres can mean weeks of disruption for families as unimmunised children can be excluded from pre school or school.

Here are the key messages this Immunisation Week:

  • High immunisation rates protect our whole community from the spread of serious diseases.
  • Protecting your child from serious diseases means you’re also protecting the people around them – including those who can’t be immunised themselves.
  • Make sure your whole family – young and old – is up-to-date with their immunisations.
  • Immunisation is one of the best ways to protect your whānau against the risk of serious diseases.
  • Immunisation coverage of 95 percent is needed to help shield the population from serious diseases, like measles. We all need to work together to reduce the spread of infectious diseases.
  • New Zealand’s midwives, nurses, doctors and pharmacists all play an important role in making sure our whole community is immunised.

Find out more about staying protected from serious illnesses through immunisation (Ministry of Health).

See the National Immunisation Schedule for a list of FREE recommended immunisations for you and your family (Ministry of Health).

Download or order immunisation resources from the Community Health Information Centre.

Catch up on your vaccinations: Protect yourself now and in the future

Immunisation is the best way to protect yourself and your whānau against a range of infectious diseases and remains a priority for whānau during all COVID-19 alert levels.

It’s important to check you are up to date with your immunisations, especially if you are;

  • leaving home for the first time – such as going to university or other tertiary education provider;
  • thinking of starting a family;
  • beginning a career; or
  • travelling overseas.

Catching up on your immunisations is easy, and often free from your general practice. Your practice nurse or doctor will be able to tell you what immunisations you need.

You can also protect your developing child if you are fully immunised. Catching rubella when you’re pregnant can cause miscarriage or serious birth defects. It is also recommended that pregnant women have the free seasonal influenza and whooping cough booster vaccinations to protect both them and their child.

Most people will be exposed to human papillomavirus (HPV) as older teenagers or young adults. Persistent HPV infection can lead to cervical and other HPV-related cancers. HPV also causes most genital warts.

There are some extra immunisations that aren’t usually free but are worth considering to make sure you’re protected. Some of these are free for those at higher risk of disease. Talk to your doctor about whether protection from the following diseases is a good idea for you:

  • Influenza;
  • Meningococcal disease;
  • Chickenpox;
  • Hepatitis A; or
  • Hepatitis B.

Older people need to keep their immunisations up to date too

Diseases like influenza and shingles can have a bigger impact on our health as we get older due to the risk of complications. Also you can protect your grandchildren/moko from serious diseases by getting your immunisations up-to-date.

Your general practice can provide FREE immunisations to help keep you well:

  • Get FREE booster immunisations at age 65 to protect you against diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough.
  • FREE immunisation against shingles is available at age 65. People aged 66 to 80 years are eligible for a free vaccine until 31st December 2021.
  • FREE immunisation against influenza is available for those aged 65 and older.

Sources: Health Promotion Agency and Ministry of Health websites.

Page last updated: 23/04/2018

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