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12 January 2018


Issue 5 - February 2019

This Healthy Policies Update is brought to you by the Healthy Policies Team at Toi Te Ora Public Health (Toi Te Ora).  This bi-annual update showcases the support available to council planners, advisors and policy makers, who are helping create healthy communities across the Bay of Plenty and Lakes districts where people live, learn, work and play.  It provides information about the latest evidence, data and tools, and local and national innovative case studies.

This update is available in both e-copy and hardcopy.  To subscribe to the newsletter please click here. For more information on how Toi Te Ora can support your Council with any of the topics raised in this update, please email

Please circulate this update and subscription invitation to your colleagues and any relevant stakeholders.

In this update:

Toi Te Ora and Local Government - Collaborating to Ensure Lifelong Wellbeing for All

Healthy Streets, What Really Matters

Award winning international public health expert, Lucy Saunders, recently visited New Zealand to showcase the acclaimed Healthy Streets Approach™ and 10 Healthy Streets Indicators™.  Lucy shared her extensive knowledge at events including the 2WalkandCYCLE Conference, the Auckland Conversations series, and the New Zealand Centre for Sustainable Cities seminar.

The Healthy Streets Approach provides clear and simple explanations describing “what really matters on all streets, everywhere, for everyone.”  Crucially, according to Ms Saunders, “it turns out that the key elements necessary for public spaces to improve people’s health are the same as those needed to make urban places socially and economically vibrant and environmentally sustainable.”

The Healthy Streets Approach was adopted by Transport for London in 2014 in the world’s first transport health action plan.  Closer to home, Auckland Council design champion, Ludo Campbell-Reid, says the Healthy Streets Approach was a "seminal piece of work" to what his team did, while Tauranga City Council is also investigating the use of a Healthy Streets Approach.

You can find out more about the Healthy Streets Approach and the 10 Healthy Streets Indicators, including supporting tools, resources and videos at

Summer Spotlight on Shade and Shelter

Shade and shelter is one of the 10 Healthy Streets Indicators that is particularly relevant as we enjoy our hot summer period.  

“Shade and shelter can come in many forms – trees, awnings, colonnades – and they are needed to ensure that everyone can use the street whatever the weather.  In sunny weather we all need protection from the sun, in hot weather certain groups of people struggle to maintain a healthy body temperature, in rain and high winds we all welcome somewhere to shelter.  To ensure our streets are inclusive of everyone and welcoming to walk and cycle in no matter the weather we must pay close attention to shade and shelter.” – Lucy Sanders, Healthy Streets Approach 

How is Healthy is our Food Environment

A major cause of New Zealand’s high rates of obesity has been mapped in a world-first study which has provided a full picture of the state of our food environment.

A ‘food environment’ is the physical and social surroundings that influence what we eat.  This includes the kinds of food we have available at home to eat, how far we live from the nearest supermarket or fast food restaurant, and by the ways that governments and authorities develop relevant policies.

The study found that New Zealanders, particularly children and those living in deprived communities, are surrounded by a largely unhealthy food environment that makes it far too hard to choose healthy foods, and all too easy to choose unhealthy foods.  

On average the study found there are 13.7 fast food outlets per 10,000 people living in most deprived areas compared with only 3.7 in least deprived areas.  Significantly more convenience stores and fast food outlets per km2 were found to be within 500 meters of low socio economic communities.

With a link between unhealthy food environments, unhealthy diets, and higher rates of obesity, this study emphasises significant need for food policy and changes to our food environment.  Government, food companies, retailers, and local settings such as schools, can collectively contribute towards achieving an equitable healthy food environment for our communities.

What can you do?

Local Government can play an important role in creating healthy food environments for our communities. This can include:

  • Adopting a Food Security Policy that suports healthy food sales and land use planning to protect and enable food production.  This could include components such as: Supporting and promoting community farmers markets through communication channels; Creating healthy food zones around schools, childcare centres, hospitals or other facilities; Restricting the number of fast food outlets per population by creating a cap on fast food outlets per capita; Ensuring strategies to improve the access to healthy food are integrated, addressed and considered in all local government planning and policy making processes.

  • Controlling the frequency and type of advertising at council facilities and amenities (e.g. bus stops) to restrict the promotion of unhealthy foods and drinks (including alcohol).

  • Supporting local food networks (e.g. Kai Rotorua, Kai Western Bay) working to strengthen our local food system, and exploring the potential to establish new food networks in a community (e.g. Whakatāne food sovereignty project).

  • Hosting, supporting or promoting existing community programmes and initiatives such as cooking, healthy shopping, gardening or reducing food waste workshops.

  • Role modelling a healthy food environment by implementing a healthy food and drink policy at all council offices and venues (e.g. sports centres, community centres) including cafes, kitchens, snack and drink machines.

  • Maintaining and installing additional water fountains in community spaces.

For more information visit our food security page on our website which includes specific information for Councils.  You’ll also find our Growing Healthy Communities Toolkit developed to guide local government through options for improving access to healthy food in their communities. 

The toolkit is not an exhaustive list of all opportunities, but it does identify a range of initiatives and policies that will have an impact on food security.  In addition, check out the research from the University of Auckland ‘How healthy are New Zealand food Environments? A comprehensive assessment 2014-2017’.

Competing Land for Housing and Horticulture

A recent Deloitte report puts the spotlight on the loss of productive land to urbanisation and discusses the importance of planning for land use to balance the needs of both housing and horticulture. 

To read about this in more detail check out New Zealand’s Food Story – The Pukekohe Hub.

Equity a Key Criteria for Rotorua Lakes Council Funding Agreements

A new partnership agreement between Rotorua Lakes Council and Ka Pai Kai Rotorua Charitable Trust has given the healthy school lunch service a boost in its efforts to nourish the minds of our future generation. 

Partnership agreements are Rotorua Lakes Council’s new way of providing support to local non-profit groups whose priority areas align with the Council’s 2030 vision, address inequity, and benefit the people of Rotorua. 

This new agreement, which will be in place for the next three years, will provide Ka Pai Kai Rotorua with support from Council, helping it to achieve its mission to provide school children with nourishing lunches, and help to reduce inequities in health and education.  A healthy diet is linked to better educational outcomes, as a hungry child will struggle in the classroom.  Ka Pai Kai Rotorua sells lunches at cost price in nine Rotorua schools and, with support from local businesses, is able to provide subsidised lunches and free lunches in decile 1 and 2 schools.

“We attended community workshops held by Rotorua Lakes Council to learn about the funding available to local non-profit organisations.  We worked hard to prepare a thorough application, and are thrilled that they saw the value in what we are doing for tamariki in our local schools.  This funding has come at an important time in our journey; without it we would not be able to expand in to more schools,” says Jasmin Jackson, Ka Pai Kai Rotorua Chairperson.

The Council received 21 applications for partnership agreements, submitted alongside the 2018-2021 long term plan, with the total value of requests exceeding $700,000.  Eleven applicants were successful in securing partnerships, with a total value per annum of financial support coming to $210,000, with in-kind support also factored into agreements. 

Ōpōtiki Clearing the Air

Ōpōtiki District Council is supporting their community, and the nation, to achieve Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 by extending their smokefree outdoor spaces policy.

Following submissions made to their 2018-28 long term plan by the Eastern Bay of Plenty Smokefree Coalition and Toi Te Ora, a collaborative approach was taken to engage the local community and listen to what they wanted in regards to smokefree outdoors spaces.  This involved a series of public engagement workshops, community feedback gathered through social media, as well as online and written submissions.

The revised policy is based on a non-regulatory approach that aims to create behaviour change by promoting a positive smokefree message.  The draft policy includes e-cigarettes, as some e-cigarettes contain nicotine and the use of the device mimics cigarette smoking.  The draft policy has also extended its coverage to include the central business district, civic areas and beaches as smokefree areas. 

To find out more about smokefree outdoor spaces policies visit

Growing Whānau Knowledge - Hapū Hauora Nga Kete Matauranga Expands

Following the successful launch of our Hapū Hauora kauapa, Toi Te Ora has expanded the online resource to include an additional two kete areas.  Hapū is a a web-based resource hub which aims to improve Māori health and enrich hapū wellbeing. 

The website was developed in consultation with local hapū, and initially included three kete matauranga (baskets of knowledge) which provided easy to understand information on oranga kai (healthy food), auahi kore (smokefree), and te karonga i ngā momo mate (avoiding infections).  Within each kete are resources, tips, interactive tools, and templates whānau can use to improve their health - using the marae to set the example and lead the way for tamariki.  The website now also includes information on how hapū can whakakore waipiro (reduce alcohol) and korikori tinana (be physically active).

Hapū Hauora has been designed using language familiar to Māori and concepts that align with a Māori world view.  With the content development now complete, the team are focused on engaging with marae and hapū throughout the district to discuss ways they can influence positive health changes, while also connecting with existing Māori health groups and providers interested in Hapū Hauora. 

A special element to the website is a ‘success stories’ feature that highlights achievement or activities occuring on the marae or within hapū.  Celebrating successes is an important aspect to the kaupapa and the website provides a wide-reaching platform to reach te iwi Māori across the country. 

If you would like to sign up for our quarterly newsletter or want to contact our team, please email hapū

Tapu and Noa - Critical Constructs for Management of Biowastes in Aoteaora

Engaging with mana whenua is fundamental to any local decision-making process.  Benefits of this engagement include building an equitable relationship to support meaningful ongoing conversations, better decision-making and more robust and lasting solutions.

The following article from The Centre for Integrated Biowaste Research (CIBR) aims to raise awareness of and appreciation for how Māori cultural values and experiences could usefully contribute to biosolids management.

‘Tapu’ and ‘noa’ are Māori concepts that inform many environmental decision-making processes.  The Centre for Integrated Biowaste Research (CIBR) has explored how tapu and noa can support contemporary biowaste management – particularly the management of treated sewage sludge (biosolids) and wastewater. 

In a generic sense, ‘tapu’ describes a status of forbidden or restricted that is prescribed to something or someone, whilst ‘noa’ refers to being ordinary or free from restriction.  Historically these concepts underpinned strict management practices around human wastes.  Today biosolids management evokes similar cultural considerations, but also frustrations with the poor incorporation of Māori cultural values and the wealth of Māori knowledge and experiences in local infrastructure decision-making.  

New Zealand’s colonial history and inequitable power sharing are examples of institutional barriers to full and effective Māori participation in biosolids decision-making.  Additionally there is a low appreciation and awareness in the waste management sector of how Māori cultural values and experiences could usefully contribute to biosolids management. 

CIBR’s research has consistently shown that Māori individuals and organisations do not support a ‘flush and forget’ approach.  Iwi, hapū, land trustees and Māori business owners tend to be very willing to engage with local government on waste management issues, with significant insights and benefits for all involved.

A greater awareness and deeper understanding of cultural values and frameworks will support more respectful processes and meaningful conversations about how to best design and manage local biowaste systems. For example:

  • Tapu and noa constructs manifest in relation to other Māori values and therefore should never be considered in isolation.

  • Tapu and noa are not fixed; they can be temporary or more permanent actions, and can manifest along the tapu or noa spectrum in response to changing events and environments.

  • The expression of tapu and noa in particular contexts (e.g., biosolids management) can be influenced by different forces or trajectories.


Understanding how these trajectories influence a particular local setting will inform the most appropriate engagement approaches. Moreover, cultural values (like tapu and noa), ethics (tikanga/ritenga), and the practices they governed, were shaped by local context and circumstance; this means that traditional management practices will differ according to local conditions, interpretation and history. Therefore, engaging with mana whenua is fundamental to any local decision-making processes. At the basis of engagement should be an intent to build an equitable relationship to support meaningful ongoing conversations.

Ataria, J., 2Baker, V., 3Goven, J., 4Langer, E.R, & 4Leckie, A.
Cawthron Institute, Private Bag 2, Nelson 7042
Centre for Integrated Biowaste Research, ESR Ltd, PO Box 30-548, Wellington
Kukupa Research, Christchurch
Scion, PO Box 29 237, Christchurch

Corresponding author. Email: 


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Last modified: 06 Mar 2018
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