“It’s about all of us
leading healthy change in the places
we live, learn, work and play.”

Healthy Families Rotorua is part of the Government’s flagship Healthy Families NZ initiative aimed at improving people’s health to slow the growth of obesity, and prevent chronic disease.

Healthy Families NZ is a large-scale initiative that brings together community leadership in a united effort for better health.

From parents, wider whānau members, councils, schools, early childcare centres, businesses, sporting organisations, iwi, health and social services organisations, right through to district health boards and central government — we all have a role to play in laying the foundations for a healthier future.

It is about thinking bigger, activating leadership at all levels, and driving innovation to create health promoting environments in the places we spend our time; from our schools and workplaces, to sports clubs, marae and other key community settings.

Our Key Focus

The key focus areas include:

  • Improved nutrition
  • Increased physical activity
  • More people smokefree
  • Reduced alcohol-related harm

By focussing on the places we spend most of our time, Healthy Families NZ aims to impact the health and wellbeing of entire populations, both now and for future generations to come.

The intention is to make changes to the systems that influence the health and wellbeing of families and communities — systems like workplaces, the education system and community spaces.

The design of Healthy Families NZ is a move away from disconnected, short-term approaches, and a move towards a more collaborative, whole of community, collective approach to prevention.

Healthy Families NZ is being implemented in 10 locations across the country, including Rotorua, and has the potential to impact the lives of over a million New Zealanders.

In each location, a skilled prevention workforce will work with local leaders to coordinate action that will drive the necessary changes to support good health.


The rising tide of preventable chronic diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers threatens our quality of life.

With rising rates of these diseases comes increasing health, social and economic impacts on families, communities and the health system.

Obesity or being overweight is a key factor driving this trend. New Zealand is now the third most obese nation in the OECD and rates appear to be rising. Since 2006 obesity in New Zealand has increased from 27 percent of the population, to 31 percent.


Worryingly, one in three New Zealand children are obese or overweight, and more than a third are inactive.

A growing body of evidence is calling for a comprehensive and coordinated approach to prevention that is sustained over the longer-term.



Healthy Families NZ builds on existing action underway in the community to create an integrated, community-wide ‘prevention system’ for good health.

Because the initiative is about locally driven solutions to local needs, the kinds of initiatives delivered in each location will be different. Examples of the sort of actions that might emerge are:

  • Supporting children’s settings, workplaces and other key community settings to create healthy tuckshops, menus, vending machines and catering
  • Working with food growers, producers, sellers and more to activate the local food system and increase access to fresh, healthy food for all
  • Supporting sports clubs to manage sideline behaviour
  • Influencing community planning and transport to increase walkability of neighbourhoods, supporting active transport and encouraging physical activity throughout the day
  • Increasing the uptake of existing evidence-based programmes, for example Health Promoting Schools and the WorkWell workplace health programme