When Rotorua, New Zealand, hosts the largest health promotion event in the world, the legacy will extend beyond economic benefits and knowledge sharing to the creation of a healthier community.
The International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE) Conference, April 7-11, 2019, is expected to attract at least 2,000 participants, from leaders in health to climate change and socio-economic development. Local Māori have been integral to the event’s organisation since its inception. The conference theme, ‘Waiora: Promoting Planetary Health and Sustainable Development For All’, was initially inspired by discussions with indigenous leaders in Rotorua, explains Sione Tu’itahi, Executive Director of The Health Promotion Forum of New Zealand – Runanga Whakapiki Ake i te Hauora o Aotearoa. The bid for the conference was presented in Brazil in both Māori and English languages and included a waiata (song). Māori cultural experiences will also play an important part in the conference programme.
“Rotorua is an outstanding tourist city, imbued with the heartfelt hospitality – manaakitanga – of its local indigenous peoples, Te Arawa. It is also New Zealand’s cultural heartland, with our indigenous Māori peoples leading from the front in terms of governance, education, health, commerce, and community and iwi (tribal) development. New Zealand is recognised as a world leader in terms of knowledge, research, and practice of indigenous health promotion, and this will be a central theme of the content,” Tu’itahi says.
“Part of the event’s longer legacy might be the establishment of a durable health initiative. Health does not begin at the hospital. Health promotion works with communities and peoples where their health begins: where they live, learn, love, work, play and pray. We are hoping to focus on establishing the World Health Organization’s ‘healthy city’ initiative in Rotorua; providing a model for the rest of the country, and the world.”
Photo Copyright: Eric Lindberg