Information for media

All media enquiries should be directed to:

Lynne Walsh
Corporate Communications Manager
DDI: +64 4 917-0512
Mob: +64 21 369-081


New workplace wellbeing toolkit launched

10 October 2017

A new toolkit to support New Zealand workplaces and their people to flourish is being launched today (World Mental Health Day) by the Mental Health Foundation and Health Promotion Agency.

The Five Ways to Wellbeing at Work Toolkit makes it easy for workplaces to support their people to build five simple actions into their daily lives to boost wellbeing and organisational productivity.

The launch coincides with the World Federation of Mental Health’s 25th World Mental Health Day which this year focuses on "Mental Health in the Workplace".

Read the full media release


All HPA offices are open now

16 November 2016

All HPA offices are now open. The Wellington office reopened today while the Christchurch office reopened yesterday. The Auckland office was not affected by the recent earthquakes.


HPA's Wellington and Christchurch offices closed

14 November 2016

Due to today's earthquake, HPA's Wellington and Christchurch offices are closed. This information will be updated when the buildings have been checked.


National Depression Initiative ten years on

31 October 2016

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says the National Depression Initiative (NDI) has continued to evolve and expand since its launch a decade ago.

“Over the last ten years the NDI has had an increasingly important role in utilising technology to ensure people have access to the help and support they need, at a place and time convenient to them,” says Dr Coleman.

“At the core of the NDI is two comprehensive websites, which are supported by a free and confidential 24/7 helpline 0800 111 757 and text services 4202 (for adults) or 5626 (for young people). Both phone services are part of the National Telehealth Service.

“For youth there is which offers information and tools for handling life issues, stress, depression and anxiety. This section offers a safe forum where teens can ask questions. The website has had almost 87,000 users in 2015/2016 and around 1.5 million unique users since its launch in 2010.

“For adults there is This includes The Journal, a self-management tool fronted by Sir John Kirwan, which helps people stay positive and make lifestyle changes. From next month it will also be available on mobile devices.”

Since its launch the website has had around four million unique users. There’s been a significant uplift in the number of people using the website in the last three years. Going from 620,000 in 2013/14 to over one million in 2015/16.

Over recent years both websites have been improved to respond to a wider range of needs. This includes recognising that specific groups have been identified as needing additional support, including Maori, Pacifika, deaf people, rural communities, and the LGBTI community.

“The drivers of mental health and addiction are complex. In line with international trends, we’ve seen an increase in demand for mental health and addition services,” says Dr Coleman.

“To help meet this increased demand, the Government has invested an extra $300 million into mental health and addiction services. Taking the total health spend in this area to over $1.4 billion for this financial year.

“In Budget 2016 we invested $12 million to further increase support for people to access mental health services at an earlier stage.

“From early 2017 we will be rolling out a mental health triage system for the national telehealth services, this 24/7 service include Healthline and 111.

“The new system will involve a trained expert being on hand to take mental health related calls. It’s expected to benefit around 45,000 callers a year.”

Notes to Editors

The number of people accessing specialist mental health services has increased
from 2.3 per cent of the population a decade ago, to 3.5 per cent of the population
in the last year. An increase from around 96,000 people, up to 164,000.


Dunne launches Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder action plan

17 AUGUST, 2016

Associate Health Minister Hon Peter Dunne has launched an action plan today aimed at better supporting those affected by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), and reducing the numbers of babies born with this preventable condition. 

“FASD is considered internationally to be a leading preventable cause of intellectual and developmental problems, with some researchers estimating that it occurs in one in 100 children.

“The FASD Action Plan pulls together all of the work already being done at both Government and community level, and takes a strategic and coordinated approach to addressing this very complex issue.

“The Action Plan prioritises prevention and makes it clear that we all have a responsibility to support families and whānau to have healthy, alcohol-free pregnancies. Actions identified in the Plan include increasing access to support and services for women with alcohol and drug issues, conducting research into the incidence of FASD in New Zealand, and developing a coordinated and consistent pathway for supporting affected people and their families”, says Mr Dunne.

Specific funding has already been allocated to a number of actions identified in the Plan. $12 million over four years for intensive alcohol and drug support for pregnant women was allocated in the 2016/2017 Budget. An additional $1 million was invested via Criminal Proceeds recovery to develop tools and training for frontline professionals and build New Zealand’s evidence base.

“This is the first national step towards understanding and addressing FASD and its related effects in New Zealand. The Plan will contribute significantly to the government’s work around vulnerable children and their families.

“While this Plan re-enforces the importance of taking a coordinated approach across sectors and communities to reduce alcohol-related harm, there is no known safe level of alcohol consumption at any stage of pregnancy. It is safest not to drink alcohol if you’re pregnant”, said Mr Dunne.


Babies exposed to alcohol before birth are at risk of developing this condition, which can cause permanent damage to the body and brain, resulting in heart defects, blindness, behavioural issues and intellectual disability.

There is no cure for FASD. Its effects last a lifetime.


Use sun protection, even on cloudy days

Kiwis enjoying summer events and holiday weekends are urged to be SunSmart.

“It is important to use sun protection every day, even on cloudy days,” says Megan Chapman, the Health Promotion Agency’s (HPA) SunSmart manager.

"Sun protection is needed from September to April when the sun’s ultra violet (UV) rays are strongest. Depending where in New Zealand you are, the period of time sun protection  is required varies.

To make it easy to be SunSmart, the HPA’s Sun Protection Alert gives the exact time period each day when sun protection is needed. It takes into account geographical location and weather factors.

“When you are out and about it is easy to find out the time period when sun protection is recommended in your location, by checking out the Sun Protection Alert on your mobile phone,” she says.

The Sun Protection Alert is found on, MetService phone apps and in all major daily newspapers.

Megan Chapman says that lots of summer outdoor events are held during January and February including the Seven Days of Sevens Festival in Wellington and the Anniversary Weekend events on the Auckland waterfront and Waitangi Day celebrations across New Zealand.

"Kiwis need to remember to ‘slip, slop, slap and wrap’ - slip on a shirt or into the shade, slop on plenty of broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF30, slap on a hat and wrap on a pair of wrap-around sunglasses."

For more information:

Daylight saving signals Sun Safety time

 “Daylight saving has started which means it’s time to protect our skin and eyes from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation,” says Kath Blair, Manager Skin Cancer Prevention at the Health Promotion Agency (HPA).

“With El Nino conditions some regions may experience cooler and windier days but UV radiation levels are increasing, so even if you’re feeling cold, you need to protect your skin and eyes,” says Kath Blair.

A general rule of thumb is to use sun protection between 10am and 4pm from September to April when out and about outdoors.

Depending on where you are, specific advice is available by checking HPA’s Sun Protection Alert. This tells you the time period in your location when sun protection is recommended. Starting today the Sun Protection Alert will be on, MetService phone apps, and in all major daily newspapers.

“In addition to encouraging customers to check the Sun Protection Alert, pharmacists also want to help customers be SunSmart over the daylight saving months,” says Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand’s Chief Executive, Richard Townley.

“We’ve worked with HPA on new SunSmart reminders for New Zealanders to slip, slop, slap & wrap.” Richard reminds us to: 
  • slip into a collared shirt and the shade
  • slop on plenty of broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 30
  • slap on a broad-brimmed hat
  • wrap on a pair of wrap-around sunglasses.

Kath Blair also encourages New Zealanders to regularly check their skin for any changes. Regular skin checks increase the chance of finding melanoma and other skin cancers at an early stage when they are easier to treat. If you’re concerned about a change to a mole or freckle, a persistent sore or bleeding spot, or a growing bump, get it checked by your doctor.

Like Minds, Like Mine Community Partnership Fund providers selected

5 December 2014

Sixteen community projects have been selected from a pool of applications to receive up to $100,000 per year for three years from the Health Promotion Agency’s (HPA’s) new Like Minds, Like Mine Community Partnership Fund.

HPA’s Manager Mental Health, Virginia MacEwan says “The 16 selected projects for the Like Minds, Like Mine programme represent a range of ways of working with communities around New Zealand to reduce stigma and discrimination and increase social inclusion for people with experience of mental illness. They build on the platform that has been established by dedicated providers over the last decade.”

Read the release »

Seasons in the sun

12 November 2014

The balmy days of summer are not too far away and, even though Kiwis are currently dealing with unpredictable spring weather, now is the time to get SunSmart.

New Zealanders have an easy-to-use tool that tells them exactly when they need to protect their skin from the sun. The Sun Protection Alert provides simple information that is easy to act on and specific to each area of the country for that day. Sun safety messages such as ‘seek shade’ and ‘reapply sunscreen’ are included in the Sun Protection Alert and change regularly to reflect weather forecasts.

Read the release »

New alcohol moderation campaign launched

3 November 2014

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman welcomes the Health Promotion Agency’s latest alcohol moderation campaign which launches tonight with a television campaign promoting water as a tool to pace your drinking.

“Binge drinking is a major issue for New Zealand with the social and economic effects impacting on individuals, communities and New Zealand as a whole,” says Dr Coleman.

“Alcohol moderation campaigns like Not Beersies aim to provide people with alternatives that help moderate their alcohol intake. Not Beersies is a positive way to moderate alcohol intake by providing people with something they can do when they refuse a drink.”

The campaign builds on the work that has already been done to provide people with a language to ease up through the award winning ‘Say Yeah, Nah’ campaign.

The Not Beersies campaign, which involved advertising agency FCB is all about water and the advertisements are meant as a parody of classic beer advertisements. Water is renamed Not Beersies and described as brewed by clouds, zero carbs, zero craft, zero beer, and available at a tap near you.

Marketing will take place in the lead up to Christmas and during summer. Aside from television, Not Beersies advertising will be seen in outdoor media (billboards, street posters and adshels).

For more information »

Depression initiative wins two advertising awards

28 October 2014

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says the National Depression Initiative has won two major advertising awards at the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) Effectiveness awards in London.

“It is great to see New Zealand’s National Depression Initiative gain international recognition at the IPA awards,” says Dr Coleman.

“It is a tribute to the work of Sir John Kirwan, FCB New Zealand, the Ministry of Health and the Health Promotion Agency who co-manage the programme. The National Depression initiative has been highly successful.

“Depression affects the lives of thousands of New Zealanders, and it is important people get the support and help that they need.”

The National Depression Initiative campaign won gold for the on-line tool ‘The Journal’ and also took out the best international campaign at the IPA awards.

‘The Journal’ is an online self-help tool fronted by former All Black Sir John Kirwan, who acts as an online personal coach to help people through a six-week programme. More than 47,000 people have signed up to use it.

The National Depression Initiative aims to reduce the impact of depression on the lives of New Zealanders, by aiding early recognition, appropriate treatment, and recovery.

HPA Strikes Gold at Effie Awards

10 October 2014

HPA’s ‘Yeah, Nah’ campaign won two gold, one silver and a bronze at last night’s Effie Awards (for effectiveness in marketing communications).

The campaign won gold for the Hardest Challenge category. Convenor of Judges Lew Bentley, said that the Executive judges all agreed that alcohol moderation is a very tough challenge. “It has to overcome significant and entrenched social and cultural behaviours.”

The campaign also won gold in the Best Strategic Thinking section, a silver in  the Most Effective Integrated Campaign and a bronze in the Social Marketing - Public Service  section.

FCB, HPA’s advertising agency, took out the award for the Most Effective Agency of the Year.

2014 Smokefreerockquest - National Final Results

28 September 2014

Dub-roots four piece HeadChef from Wellington High School took out first place in this year’s finals of Smokefreerockquest at Auckland’s Q Theatre on Saturday night.

After regional finals held nationwide, the top six bands and three solo/duo performers played in front of a capacity crowd at the national final of New Zealand’s only nationwide, orginal youth music event.

HeadChef got their name from a friend who used to ‘cook us up the meanest feeds’, and are  Carlos McQuillan (rhythm guitar and vocals), Leon van Dijk (lead guitar and backing vocals), Dylan Quinn (drums) and Ted Bartley (bass and backing vocals).

Second placed band was Joe’s Van from Mt Maunganui College, a trio with a six-year history in Smokefreerockquest. They are Cormac Seymour (lead guitar), Rory Priest (drums) and Jake Nicholas (singer and bass).

The solo/duo section was taken out out by Georgia Lines, from Tauranga’s Bethlehem College, who also won the Smokefree Women’s Musicianship award worth $1000 cash.

Second placed was Cam Dawson, a profoundly blind Year 10 student at Manurewa High School. Cam is originally from Blenheim.

Read the release »

Photo of Head Chef » (Please credit photos to Imaginary Friend. Hi res images are available on request)

Photo of Georgia Lines » (Please credit photos to Imaginary Friend. Hi res images are available on request)

2014 Smokefree Pacifica Beats - National Final Results

27 September 2014

The all girl soul group Soulful 7 from Auckland Girls’ Grammar won the 2014 national final of Smokefree Pacifica Beats held at Auckland’s Q Theatre on Friday night.

The band members  are Zina Setefano (keyboard), Victoria Nanai (drums), Narelle Apa (guitar,vocals), Colleen Vatau (bass), Tuputala Auvele (saxophonist), Angie Fa'apoi and Seini Pua (vocals). 

Spokesperson Angie Fa'apoi said the band was very grateful to their families, teachers, schools and to their mentor Annie Crummer.

“She gave us the confidence to reach out and connect with the audience,” she said. “We worked really hard and had no idea how we would do when we saw all the other bands. All our band members are blessed with amazing talent, this is what we do, we love to perform.”

Second place, went to nine piece reggae band Open Arms from Rotorua Boys High School who receive musical gear to a total value of $1500 from NZ Rockshops. The band members are Tawhirimatea Witoko (lead vocals), Terence Apiata (bass), Arapeta Paea (vocals), Wirihana Te Rangi (vocals), Te Hakaraia Wilson (vocals), Tuariki Brown (lead guitar), Lacey Betham (keyboard), Te Tauhu Kingi (rhythm guitar), AJ Moke (drums).

Terence Apiata from Open Arms won the APRA Songwriters Award for his song Addiction, winning $500 cash and a mentoring workshop with a kiwi music success.

Third place went to Jah Mon Fever from Aotea College in Porirua,

The six finalists were narrowed down from over 100 entries in Smokefree Pacifica Beats this year. The event recognises and reflects the unique cultural identity of Aotearoa New Zealand and the South Pacific, with bands required to have some Maori or Pacific Island elements in their music or performance.

Read the release »

Daylight saving means it's time to be SunSmart

25 September 2014

The arrival of daylight saving this weekend signals that ultraviolet (UV) levels are rising rapidly and it’s time for New Zealanders to be SunSmart, says Wayde Beckman, the Health Promotion Agency’s (HPA's) SunSmart spokesperson.

 “While our temperatures are still quite low, UV is already strong enough to cause sunburn if we don’t use sun protection for our skin. Sunburn is a big concern because it’s linked to melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. And New Zealand has one of the highest rates of melanoma in the world.”

Dr Richard McKenzie, Emeritus Researcher – Atmospheric Radiation at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), says the level of UV increases rapidly as the sun’s elevation increases, with the most rapid increase at the time of the spring equinox, 23 September.

Read the release »

New way to check your gambling

19 May 2014

A new website to help people recognise the early signs of harmful gambling is now live.

“The Choice Not Chance website is part of a new campaign developed by the Health Promotion Agency (HPA) to help people protect themselves and those they care about from gambling harm,” said Hannah Booth, HPA’s Minimising Gambling Harm Programme Manager.

The campaign, which launched on television last night features a fictional game show, with former Small Blacks TV presenter Nua Finau as the charismatic host. The Game Show explains three key signs that someone’s gambling is becoming more than just fun.

“And with more than $2 billion lost to gambling in New Zealand every year, it’s a hugely important message,” Ms Booth said.

“Spending more to win back money you’ve lost (often called chasing losses), hiding or lying about your gambling, and suffering feelings of guilt or stress (often directly after gambling) are all warning signs that your gambling could be getting out of hand,” she said.

“Any indications of any of these signs could show that you’re experiencing gambling harm. And it’s not just about people with serious gambling problems. We want everyone to be aware and do something as soon as any of the signs are noticed. 

“If you recognise any of these signs we ask that you do one of two things - go to where you can take a quiz to check your gambling (or that of someone you care about), or call the Gambling Helpline on 0800 654 655 where you can have a free, confidential, non-judgemental chat about your gambling concerns.

Launching with television commercials the campaign will also run on radio, online and in and around selected gambling venues across the country.

For more information

2014 winter rheumatic fever campaign

1 May 2014

Today the 2014 winter rheumatic fever campaign was launched in Auckland. The campaign has been developed by the Ministry of Health and Health Promotion Agency.

For more information »

New depression initiative

10 April 2014

Videos and stories featuring the true life stories of farmers who have suffered from depression have been added to the website.

The website, which is part of the National Depression Initiative (NDI), is fronted by Sir John Kirwan who has also publically shared his story about his journey through depression.

The new page was added to help make more relevant to farmers and the rural community. It can be found at

The landing page takes people through the information on the depression website. It includes The Journal, which is a free online self-help programme designed to support people with mild to moderate depression. Sir John leads people through six practical lessons in The Journal. It also includes information for those supporting someone through depression.

The website is managed by the Health Promotion Agency (HPA) and the Ministry of Health. HPA is grateful to the farmers who were prepared to share their stories on the new page.

For further information or comment contact HPA Corporate Communications Manager, Lynne Walsh on 021 369 081.

2013 media releases »