News & Events

It’s about your whānau this World Smokefree Day

13 April 2018

World Smokefree Day: 31 May - It's About Whanau.World Smokefree Day (31st May) is about celebrating and working towards smokefree/auahi kore lives for New Zealanders.

The theme for WSFD is ‘It’s about whānau.’ 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!

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.

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

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.

Join the trend – support your whānau to quit

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.

Services can provide support over the phone, online and by text. There is also an increasing range of medical products and nicotine therapies available, from as little as $5 per product for an 8-week supply.

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.

Source: Health Promotion Agency website.

Help young people be who they want to be during Youth Week

5 April 2018

Youth WeekYouth Week is a nationwide festival of events organised by young New Zealanders to celebrate the talents, passion and success of local young people.

Youth Week recognises the amazing contributions and achievements of young people in New Zealand. The week also recognises the youth workers, youth service providers and others working with and for young people.

The week inspires us to encourage young people to take on challenges, share ideas and focus on the positive aspects of being young. We want Aotearoa to be a country where young people are vibrant and optimistic and are supported and encouraged to take up challenges.

For the older generation it’s about how we engage with the young people in our lives – whether it’s sharing our stories, supporting them to achieve their dreams or being a listening ear when life gets tough.

How you can celebrate or mark Youth Week 2018

Youth Week this year (19th to 27th May 2018) encourages young people to “Be who you want to be”. This year’s theme is all about giving young people support so they can:

  • get involved in their community,
  • contribute to community development projects,
  • give feedback on policies or decisions that impact them, or
  • get informed about issues that affect them.

There will be lots of events happening nationwide to celebrate Youth Week.

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.

Learn about the importance of immunisation across the lifespan

27 March 2018

Immunisation Week (30th April to 6th May 2018) is about raising awareness about the importance of immunisation to protect against serious illnesses. The focus for 2018 is promoting immunisations to older people (such as influenza, shingles, diphtheria and tetanus) and encouraging immunisation across the lifespan.

Here are the key messages this Immunisation Week:

  • The protection from earlier immunisations can begin to wear off as you get older. Make sure you’re protected – speak to your doctor about getting the immunisations that are right for you.
  • Protect yourself and your whānau – make sure you’re all up-to-date with your immunisations.
  • Immunisation protects everyone, whether you are young, old or in between, and even when you’re pregnant. Talk to your doctor about getting yourself and your whānau protected from serious diseases.

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

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 to protect you against diphtheria and tetanus.
  • FREE immunisation against shingles is available at age 65, and up to age 80 for a limited time from 1st April 2018.
  • FREE immunisation against influenza is available for those aged 65 and older.
Immunisaton for Older People: Immunisation at age 65 can protect against influenza, shingles, diphtheria and tetanus.

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

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

  • leaving home for the first time,
  • 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.

Many diseases like measles and tetanus can make adults seriously ill. Over 400,000 Kiwis between 10 and 29 years old are at risk of catching measles in an outbreak. You need two doses of measles vaccine to be best protected.

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.

Sources: Health Promotion Agency and Ministry of Health websites.

Page last updated: 23/04/2018

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