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Health starts where we live, learn, work and play.

There are many things we can do to help us stay healthy.  There are also many things that impact our health that we have little or no control over - for example, our work environment, the house and neighbourhood we live in, our school and learning opportunities, the type of food we can buy, and the public services and facilities available to us.

Anything that impacts on our wellbeing is a determinant of health:

Main determinants of health – layers of influence (Dahlgren & Whitehead, 1991)

The determinants of health illustrate that health is not just the business of health care services, but is everyone’s business.  All sectors need to work together to ensure policies and systems are fair and contribute toward healthy and equitable communities.

Local government is one of the most important and powerful influences on the health and wellbeing of communities and populations.  Council decisions affect the determinants of health, meaning councils have the ability to improve community health.  Examples of how councils improve community health include:

  • Creating policies that support an efficient local economy (which provides job opportunities and income so people can afford good housing and food);

  • Planning and designing neighbourhoods that are safe to walk in, bike around, and where it is easy to catch a bus;

  • Provision of waste collection services and disposal facilities.

Toi Te Ora and Councils

Toi Te Ora Public Health (Toi Te Ora) works with all councils in the Lakes and Bay of Plenty districts so that together we can improve the health and wellbeing of our communities.

Within Toi Te Ora, two teams work primarily with councils:

  • The Health Protection team includes Medical Officers of Health, Health Protection Officers, communicable disease nurses and licencing officers who focus on environmental health and communicable disease, and ensure compliance with various health-related laws.  They provide advice and recommendations to councils, agencies and businesses about environmental issues that impact on population health, for example, air quality, alcohol licencing, drinking water, waste management, and technical information about smokefree spaces.

  • The Healthy Policies team is comprised of Health Improvement Advisors whose work ensures that local government planning and policy-making has a positive impact on the health of the population.  They work with councils to provide advice and recommendations on issues such as smokefree outdoor spaces, , and the built environment. 

Both teams work together to provide input into council planning processes, including district, annual and ten year plans, as well as spatial and regional plans.  They are involved in various council working groups and forums, and comment on strategies and specific plans, such as air and waste management plans as well as resource consents, for example, discharging contaminants to water.

For more information about our teams, click here.


Useful Resources

Toi Te Ora provides a wide range of information about public health issues.  Public health topics of interest to councils include:

Air quality



Recreational Water

Childhood Obesity Prevention

Resource Management

Drinking Water

Sewage Treatment and Disposal

Food Security

Smokefree Outdoor Spaces / Tobacco

Hazardous Substances

Sugary Drinks

Healthy Homes

Waste Management

Physical Activity

Water Fluoridation


Find out more


Last modified: 06 Mar 2018
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