View this email in your browser
Healthy Families Lower Hutt Update
September 2016

Kia ora koutou

Systems change – buzz word or game-changer?  

Obesity and preventable chronic diseases are complex problems with no single cause, and no single solution.

We’re tackling the causes of poor health by taking a ‘systems’ approach to better understand and respond to the highly complex environments that influence and affect health and wellbeing. 

The Healthy Families Lower Hutt prevention workforce focuses on building strong partnerships where people spend their time to create changes that can collectively improve the health and wellbeing of our communities. 

Our ultimate goal is transform the places where we live, learn, work and play so that the healthy choice becomes the easy choice in Lower Hutt.  

As Ben Youdan, Co-Manager of Healthy Families Manukau, Manurewa-Papakura, described it recently: 

“We have to constantly pull back and ask ourselves – is this systems change? Does this rely on conscious choices by individuals or is it about changes to the environment and societal norms? Will this reset some default in the wider system to make healthy behaviours easier? If so, we’re on the right track.”

Leading healthy change in the Valley

A shining example of systems change in action is John Anderson, Owner-Operator of Stokes Valley New World and a member of the Healthy Families Lower Hutt Governance Group.

Some of his recent changes have included:
  • Introducing healthy lunch packs for kids (wholemeal ham or chicken roll with coleslaw, and a packet of raisins and pre-cut apple). At just $3 these store-made packs are an easy and cost-effective solution for parents needing to grab their child some lunch in a hurry.
  • Going pro-water. Instead of big brand fizzy drinks, bottled water is in prime position near the front door and in the checkout aisle chiller.
  • Healthier option deli meals. You can now find wraps, cottage pie, roast meat and vegetables and other healthier ready meal options in the deli section. These easy, cost-effective meals are made onsite using fresh ingredients – and are proving very popular with locals!
John was also a strong advocate for increasing the number of outdoor smokefree public places in Lower Hutt, and famously brought in a tub of cigarette butts to a Council meeting to showcase the level of smoking outside his store.  

As the only supermarket in Stokes Valley, these healthy changes have the potential to impact some 10,000 residents.

Systems change happens by working with community leaders like John – and you and me. We all have spheres of influence where we can make a difference. 

Whether you’re the go-to cook at your marae, are on the Board of Trustees at your child’s school or in charge of catering at work, coach a basketball team or volunteer at the church office – we all have areas we can influence for the better.

You could add more veges and less processed ingredients to your meals, advocate for a water-only school policy, add some more healthy options to your catering order, swap fast food vouchers for Health Promotion Agency’s pro-water Player of the Day certificates, or put health and wellbeing on the agenda at church meetings.

We can all be a part of creating a healthier Lower Hutt. We can all be game-changers.

Ngā mihi,

Healthy Families Lower Hutt

Have your say for our community

Do you support alcohol free zones in our city?
You can have your say for our community by making a submission to Hutt City Council as part of their consultation process on the proposed Control of Alcohol in Public Places Bylaw 2016.
The bylaw is proposing that some public areas are designated as alcohol free at all times – and there are also options for time bans on alcohol (for instance, all public areas in Lower Hutt are alcohol free during hours of darkness, 9pm-5am).
It is important to note that for an alcohol free zone to be put in place, legislation requires evidence that alcohol is fuelling crime and disorder in an area. To add weight to your submission it’s important that you include examples of this evidence (e.g. have you witnessed an incident, or heard stories from neighbours? Found alcohol bottles on the beach?). 
More information on the proposed bylaw, including an online submission form, can be found on Council’s website.

Exciting things starting to take shape ... 

Making the Pledge

An exciting initiative we’re working on at the moment is the Pledge concept, led by our food system expert Healthy Communities Advisor Renee Vitale.

Renee says, “The Pledge concept is about encouraging people from across our settings and systems to ‘pledge’ to make changes to their environments that will make it easier for our community to be healthy and well – just like John at Stokes Valley New World.”

If you’d like to be involved – either through offering feedback into the design phase, or having your workplace or community group trial the concept – please get in touch with Renee (  

Creating action around Smokefree Lower Hutt

Lower Hutt Mayor Ray Wallace and Lorraine Girvan caught up at Lorraine’s favourite Lower Hutt coffee shop, Fellow Cafe, to discuss the new smokefree policy for the city.

Healthy Families Lower Hutt is leading implementation of Hutt City Council’s recently extended smokefree outdoor public places policy for the city. This work is being championed by Settings Coordinator Barry Gall.

Barry has established a Smokefree Lower Hutt Action Plan Group to support implementation, and to identify other actions that could contribute to an increasingly Smokefree Lower Hutt.

The group has met twice and membership includes Regional Public Health, Hutt Valley DHB, Cancer Society, Kokiri Marae Health and Social Services, Te Awakairangi Health Network and Hutt Youth Workers Network.

We’ve also been making good headway on our communications, engagement and signage. You can expect to start seeing some new smokefree signs across the city from next month.

Some of this branding, including a ‘Lower Hutt – proud to be smokefree’ poster, will be available for download. Here’s a sneak peek of what it’ll look like.


Council’s smokefree policy now includes parks and sports grounds, train stations, bus shelters, beaches, outdoor dining on pavements, Council run and funded events, and outdoor public areas around council buildings and facilities. Smokefree town centres are also being explored.

Take the 'Great Break Escape'


As we’re sure many of you can attest, clocking up 10,000 steps a day is a hard task when you’re based in an office.

To help inspire our workforce to move more, Healthy Families Lower Hutt has joined forces with Council’s Leisure Active team to develop four lunchtime walking loops around the Lower Hutt CBD.

Healthy Communities Advisor Jodie-Ann Webster is leading this work. She says, “Studies have shown that the average office worker takes just 3,000-5,000 steps a day. We’re hoping the Great Break Escape initiative will be a practical way we can equip and encourage people to get an extra 20 minutes of walking in each day.

“As well as promoting movement, this initiative is also a great mental health break from the stressors of the office, and a good time to catch-up with colleagues – or get some peace and quiet,” said Jodie-Ann.

The Great Break Escape will be launched later in the year, along with a corporate challenge. 

Water works! 

Total Touch, Healthy Futures Trust and Healthy Families Lower Hutt at our first pro-water event, the Petone Winter Carnival. 

A new pro-water initiative is in the works in the Hutt Valley.

Settings Coordinator Ana So’otaga says the aim is to increase the accessibility and consumption of water, and decrease the accessibility and consumption of sweet drinks.

This initiative is a collaborative effort, with multiple partners and sectors involved in implementation across a range of different settings.

One of these is the Hutt Valley Governance Group, who will be endorsing implementation within their own workplaces, as well as promoting the pro-water message within their spheres of influence. 

Ana said, “The time is right to drive a systems change in the beverage environment. There’s been some amazing support and uptake on pro-water initiatives – and we haven’t even officially launched yet!

"At the Petone Winter Carnival we had Council band together with Total Touch and Healthy Futures Trust to offer a fun, educational water stand – complete with water truck to make water more accessible at the event, drink bottles and ball skill competition. It paints an exciting picture for things to come.

“I’d also like to challenge all of you about making a change within your own organisation or sphere of influence. Where could you make water the first choice, and decrease the accessibility of sweet drinks?

“It could be as easy as replacing juice or bottled fizz with some jugs of water at events. Together, we can make a real impact on the health of our community,” said Ana. 

Stay in touch

To find out more about Healthy Families Lower Hutt or share your success stories with us, look us up on Facebook or check out our website
You are receiving this newsletter because we welcome your contribution as a leader and influencer in our community. If you wish to unsubscribe, please do so here: unsubscribe from this list
Our vision: Lower Hutt - NZ's healthiest people

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
Healthy Families Lower Hutt · Pelorus Sportshouse, Seaview, Hutt Park · Lower Hutt, Wgtn 5010 · New Zealand

Email Marketing Powered by MailChimp