There is change in the air! A shift is being felt as more detail is being shared about transformative change in the Health and Local Government systems and existing work across the public sector builds momentum. 

As a Ministry of Health funded initiative led from a Council, we have been reflecting on what these changes might mean for the systems we work in and for the people we are here to serve in the pursuit of health equity.

A common thread behind both announcements is the move to centralise some functions and decision making. In the Health sector, this has meant reshaping the role of the Ministry of Health and the creation of new health agencies, Health NZ and the Māori Health Authority, which will bring together some responsibilities from the 20 District Health Boards and Public Health Units. In Local Government, changes with the Three Waters Reform Programme and the review of the Resource Management Act will transfer responsibilities away from Councils. This has created the opportunity to reconsider the role Local Government can play in enabling the needs and aspirations of its citizens.

Healthy Families NZ has almost seven years experience in balancing a national large scale initiative with a locally led kaupapa. During that time the movement and workforce have listened, learnt and as a result continued to evolve to keep our line of sight – for all New Zealanders to enjoy social and physical environments that contribute to their wellbeing and prevent the rise of chronic disease.

Recently three of our team joined with our Healthy Families NZ whānau from around Aotearoa to wānanga in Ōtautahi. We really valued being able to meet with our colleagues kanohi ki te kanohi and are proud of the passionate and talented workforce behind the Healthy Families NZ movement.

Spending time together has reinforced our sense of urgency and appreciation of the opportunities we have right now to influence the health and wellbeing of all of Aotearoa. There has never been a better time to work together across different localities, sectors and systems to grow our impact in prevention. 

We’re feeling inspired by the great mahi being led by our local communities and champions across Te Awa Kairangi. We are grateful for your leadership and the work that you do to create places that are healthy and connected, so that our future generations grow up resilient and well.

So our wero or challenge for all of us, our partners, community champions and thought leaders is – how might we work together in this time of change to maximise the impact we can have to benefit our people?

Ki te kotahi te kākaho, ka whati, ki te kapuia, e kore whati – Alone we can be broken. Standing together, we are invincible.