Hayley Buchan our Healthy Families Hutt Valley Manager has been part of the Healthy Families NZ movement and the pillar of Healthy Families Hutt Valley since the beginning of the initiative in 2015. As well as leading a team of systems innovators, strategists and creative storytellers to create lasting impact on the health and wellbeing of our communities, Hayley has challenged and influenced the complex systems while working in partnership across sectors and communities every day, to achieve impactful and meaningful change.

Creating change is something we are very familiar with when working as part of the Healthy Families NZ kaupapa. Every day we are aiming to shift the conditions that get in the way of people being able to sustain wellbeing.

Change is not always comfortable, especially when it means shifting the conditions that are so embedded within existing systems and structures. Whether that be testing our biases or assumptions, or handing over decision making powers and influence, shifting resource or sharing knowledge.

We are currently experiencing change and opportunities that we’ve never had before. The opportunities to create systems change that will benefit all New Zealanders and our environment is upon us through the various reforms ahead. It can be overwhelming at times, especially when we need our communities to have their voices heard, but if implemented well and our communities are at the heart, we will see outcomes at scale that we’ve never achieved before in Aotearoa.

The Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Bill is one that I am very passionate about. Healthy Families Hutt Valley has been keeping a close eye on this Bill, and wrote several submissions in the early stages of the health and disability system review process. This legislation will reset the health system which includes two new national entities – Health New Zealand and the Māori Health Authority as well as the establishment of Iwi Māori Partnership Boards. The Pae Ora Bill has equity at the core and meeting the wellbeing needs of our communities through ensuring we listen to the voice of whānau and support locally-led solutions. The work that we have been doing through Healthy Families NZ provides the opportunity for scale across the health and wellbeing spectrum, particularly through the ‘localities’ approach. Like the Healthy Families NZ kaupapa, health cannot do this alone. It will require cross sector collaboration and commitment from partners to able to address the wider social determinants of health that we know have a significant impact on our community’s health and wellbeing.

I am hugely optimistic about the opportunities and the reforms that are ahead, but it will be bumpy and we won’t always get it right. I’m looking forward to playing my part in Health New Zealand through supporting the localities rollout as part of the health system transformation. I have a lot to be grateful for through my time at Healthy Families NZ. The approach of Healthy Families NZ has taught me about being comfortable working in complex systems and in the grey to achieve outcomes – this is where the magic happens.

It has been an absolute privilege being part of the Healthy Families NZ kaupapa for the last seven years. It has certainly been a rollercoaster of a ride but I have loved every connection and partnership, learning, challenge, opportunity and system break-through that I have experienced along the way. I want to thank all of my Healthy Families NZ colleagues past and present throughout the motu, our Healthy Families Hutt Valley Strategic Leadership Group and the kaimahi that I’ve had the pleasure of leading in the Healthy Families Hutt Valley team during my time.

Finally, a huge thank you to our communities and partners across Te Awa Kairangi who have been so supportive in welcoming us as a new initiative those seven years ago – we would not have achieved what we have without these authentic relationships and partnerships.

I wish Healthy Families NZ and Healthy Families Hutt Valley all the best as they enter into their next phase of strengthening our prevention system.

Tūngia te ururua, kia tupu whakaritorito te tupu o te harakeke. Clear the undergrowth so that the new shoots of the flax will grow.