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Biophilic Public Health


Toi Te Ora Public Health has committed to exploring a Biophilic Public Health approach as one that can support our vision of lifelong health and wellbeing for all.

This page contains useful resources and updates on our Biophilic Public Health development work.


Developing a Biophilic approach to Public Health

Biophilic Public Health is underpinned by our commitment to Wai Ora and the core kaupapa of Māori understanding that the health of nature and of people is entwined and interconnected. A Biophilic Public Health approach recognises the innate human affinity (or inborn 'love, awe and respect') for nature and that for our physical and mental health and wellbeing we need the natural world to be thriving and healthy, and we need to interact with and experience healthy thriving nature in our daily lives.

Therefore, a biophilic approach to public health brings a focus on how public health initiatives and interventions can be shaped and transformed to produce multiple benefits for the health and wellbeing of people, other species and ecosystems, both directly and indirectly. This is from both a local and global perspective, as well as in the short term and long term for subsequent generations. This means our practice of public health includes concern for current population health issues such as equity, obesity, chronic disease risks and mental health as well as native species, ecosystem health, biodiversity and climate change. In turn, this informs our advice and actions on issues such as urban design, transport, food and nutrition, and how the health of people and nature is promoted and enhanced in the places where we live, learn, work and play. It allows our programmes to implement an ecological model of public health, shaped by the values of love, awe and respect for nature, relevant to today's challenges and issues, and also increasingly aligning with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Dr Neil de Wet, one of our public health physicians and medical officer of health has published the following reports with reference to Biophilic Public Health approaches.



Biophilic Summit - Bay of Plenty & Lakes

Biophilic Summit explores health for people and nature

Biophilic design,  biophilic cities, re-wilding cities, urban ecological restoration, nurturing nature, nature-based solutions, biomimicry, sustainable food and transport, transforming school outdoor spaces, mātauranga Māori and public health - these were all topics of discussion at the first Bay of Plenty and Lakes Biophilic Summit held in Tauranga on the 20th June.

Organised and hosted by Toi Te Ora Public Health, the theme of this one-day event was 'connecting people with nature' and it brought together leaders, experts and representatives from across the community  (such as from local government, education, academia, health, tourism, community groups and Iwi) to discuss and develop our understanding of biophilic thinking and about how adopting biophilic approaches in the Bay of Plenty and Lakes can provide benefits for people, nature and the planet.

“In the 21st century 'health for all' has to be about not just the health of people but also about the the health of other species and ecosystems, especially because for humans to thrive and be healthy we need the natural world around us to be flourishing and healthy,” says Dr Neil de Wet, Medical Officer of Health. “Biophilic thinking is about love, awe and respect for nature, and is giving us new ideas, insights and examples from around the country and around world that give real hope about how our cities and the places where we live, learn, work and play can be re-imagined and re-designed to be places that care for the health and wellbeing of people as well as other species and ecosystems."

For more information and to watch presentations go to: Biophilic Summit

Dr Neil de Wet presents ‘Biophilic Public Health: re-imagining health for people and planet’ at the Biophilic Summit.


Links and Resources

Take a look at these websites to learn more about biophilic ideas and approaches.


Also take a look at these websites of interest.


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