Healthy Nature Healthy People

With help from Healthy Families Invercargill, the launch of the Department of Conservation’s (DOC) Healthy Nature Healthy People initiative proved to be a massive success.

One of the focus areas for Healthy Families NZ is getting people active more often, something that fits well with DOC and the global Healthy Nature Healthy People movement.

“Strong connection between people and our natural environment is fundamental to our wellbeing” says Anaru Ah Kew, Kaiwhakahaere for Healthy Families Manukau, Manurewa-Papakura. “In South Auckland, we’re working in partnership with communities, agencies and organisations to better understand how we can strengthen these connections from a Maori responsiveness approach”.

Lack of time, lack of space, the encroaching nature of technology – lots of factors are contributing to an environment where children just don’t spend as much time playing outside and interacting with nature as generations past.

The launch in Invercargill was designed as a free, fun family event – The M.A.D (Mud, Adventure, Discovery) Day Out. Hosted by Invercargill MP Sarah Dowie, it included obstacles, a bush run/walk and a very popular mud run.

It was smoke and alcohol free, no deep fried food or fizzy drink was available for sale and families were encouraged to bring their own picnics and enjoy a typically lovely Invercargill autumn day.

Exceeding all expectations, more than 800 people took part in the inaugural event and almost all had a smile on their face as they made it down the water slide which marked the finish line.

About Healthy Families NZ

  • Led by the Ministry of Health, the initiative is run in ten sites across New Zealand
  • About understanding the systems that affect health where people live, learn, work and play
  • Focus on building strong partnerships across these places to create the changes that can collectively improve the health of communities
  • Addresses the growing health inequities and increasing number of people impacted by preventable chronic disease in New Zealand