A healthy home is a combination of three key ingredients: insulation, heating and ventilation, which work together to: 

  • Keep air fresh and dry
  • Remove moisture and reduce the risk of mould and mildew growth

  • Reduce maintenance costs in your home, and
  • Keep your home at healthy, comfortable temperatures year-round.

Healthy homes are warm, dry, uncrowded and smoke free. 

What is a healthy home?

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A healthy home is a combination of three key ingredients: insulation, heating and ventilation, which work together to: 

  • Keep air fresh and dry
  • Remove moisture and reduce the risk of mould and mildew growth

  • Reduce maintenance costs in your home, and
  • Keep your home at healthy, comfortable temperatures year-round.

Healthy homes are warm, dry, uncrowded and smoke free. 

Is your home unhealthy?

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If your home is ‘unhealthy’ you and your whānau are more likely to get sick with:

  • Chest infections
  • Bronchiolitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Strep throat
  • Rheumatic fever (which can cause permanent heart damage) 


Your home may be unhealthy if:

  • It is very cold in winter and difficult to heat
  • The family sleep together in the same room to keep warm in the winter
  • Children share a bed or there are more than 2 people in a bedroom
  • You use an unflued gas heater
  • Water drips down the windows or walls
  • There is a damp or musty smell
  • There is mould (black dots) on the wall or ceiling
  • There are gaps in the windows or doors that let wind through
  • People smoke inside


Get assistance from Work and Income

Some families may be able to get help from Work and Income to keep your home warm and healthy, or if your children are unwell.

Home insulation

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Insulation keeps heat inside your home in winter, and keeps it out in summer. This makes it easier to warm your home. By having a properly insulated home, you can save on heating costs and make your home healthier.

You may be eligible for insulation installed for free through the Warm Up New Zealand: Healthy Homes programme. This includes people renting properties, although there may be a small charge for landlords of eligible tenants.

Some local or regional councils also offer insulation deals – check with them to see what's available.


Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority 

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) promotes energy efficiency, energy conservation and the use of energy from renewable sources. For information about on variety of housing topics visit:

The Energy Spot

This website has great suggestions about ways to make the most of the energy you use every day.


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Heating makes your home healthier and more comfortable to live in. Heating also reduces the growth of mould, mildew and dust mites. The World Health Organization and New Zealand’s Ministry of Health recommend these temperatures in your house:

  • a minimum of 18˚C during the day, or a minimum of 20˚C for more vulnerable groups like children, the elderly and people who are ill
  • a minimum of 16˚C in your bedroom overnight.                                                                                                                                                           

Heater type

For larger rooms that you want to heat regularly, like a living room, a fixed heater with lower running costs and more heat output is recommended.
Electric heaters may be enough for smaller rooms and rooms you only heat occasionally, like bedrooms. Avoid unflued gas heaters (with pipes fixed to the walls or portable) which release toxic fumes and moisture, and open fires which are draughty and inefficient.

Heater size

Match the size of your heater to the space you want to heat. An oversized or undersized heater will struggle to heat your room effectively, and can cost more to run. Ask your heating supplier for advice about what size heater will suit your needs.
For more information about heating options for your home please refer to the links below: 

Unflued gas heaters and portable LPG heaters

Unflued gas heaters, including portable LPG heaters, don’t have vents or chimneys to carry away emissions like water vapour, nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide. These emissions can make your house damp and harm your health, especially if there isn't enough fresh air ventilation. Portable LPG heaters can also be a fire risk.

If you do use an unflued gas heater, keep at least one window open to allow fresh air to enter the room and waste gases to escape. Never use them in bedrooms.

Portable LPG heaters are also the most expensive form of heating. If you can’t afford an effective, fixed heating option, consider portable electric heaters. They’re cheap to buy, cheaper to run and much safer than portable LPG heaters. For more information, click on the link below:


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Good ventilation removes day-to-day moisture, maintains air quality and makes your home healthier.

Having a draughty house is not the same as having good ventilation. As houses get more airtight, they become easier to heat, but good ventilation is still important to stop inside air getting stale and damp. Click on the links below for more information:


Cold, damp housing

During the winter months we spend a great deal of our time indoors, most of that at home. But what if the home we live in is cold and damp?

Living conditions in the home have a significant impact on our health and wellbeing. Cold, damp housing allows the growth of mould, fungi and dust mites; all of which can worsen asthma and respiratory illnesses.  Click for fact sheets on:

Information for the Housing Sector

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Reports and Publications


Bay of Plenty Housing Assessment and Referral Service


Lakes Healthy Homes Service


Useful links


Environmental Health Indicators New Zealand (EHINZ)

Lakes and Bay of Plenty Healthy Housing Forum


The Lakes and Bay of Plenty Housing and Health Seminar - 2016

The seminar was held on 30 June 2016 at the Rotorua Energy Events Centre.  The aims of the seminar were:

  • To host a one day housing seminar to discuss housing related health issues.

  • To collect information from attendees regarding current and developing activity in the Bay of Plenty and Lakes regions.

  • To scope the potential for the establishment of a Bay of Plenty and Lakes Housing Forum for medium term governance.

Eighty people attended the seminar. Attendees included representation from regional and local councils; district health boards (DHBs), primary health organisations (PHOs), government agencies, philanthropic funders, industry and people working on housing improvement projects.

A total of 14 presentations were given on the day, the presentations and presenters are listed below:

  1. Housing - purpose of the day - Dr Jim Miller - Toi Te Ora Public Health

  2. A brief overview of quantitative information on housing in the Bay of Plenty -  James Scarfe - Toi Te Ora Public Health

  3. The physical conditions of homes in the Bay of Plenty - Nik Gregg - Sustainability Options

  4. Housing, Health and Acute Rheumatic Fever - Jane Oliver - He Kainga Oranga, University of Otago

  5. Lakes DHB Area Rheumatic Fever housing referral programmes - Kate Stewart

  6. Bay of Plenty DHB Area Rheumatic Fever housing referral programmes - Brian Pointon - Bay of Plenty DHB

  7. A Child’s Right to Housing - Alan Johnson - Child Poverty Action Group

  8. A Qualitative Housing Study in the Bay of Plenty - Lindsay Lowe and James Scarfe - Toi Te Ora Public Health

  9. Maketu Healthy Whare - Maria Horne - Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whakaue ki Maketu

  10. The successes of Kawerau Neighbourhoods of Healthy Homes - Glenn Sutton - Kawerau District Council

  11. Minginui Forest Village - Te Waiti Rangiwai - Te Runanga O Ngati Whare

  12. Minginui Forest Village: A housing case study - Katarina Roa and Denise Riini - Waiariki Bay of Plenty Polytechnic

  13. Te Puni Kōkiri - Māori Housing Network - Ngawa Hall - Te Puni Kōkiri

  14. Home Performance Advisor Training - Jo Wills - Sustainability Options

  15. A Regional Housing Forum - Brian Pointon - Bay of Plenty DHB


Lakes and Bay of Plenty Healthy Housing Forum

The role of the Lakes and Bay of Plenty Healthy Housing Forum is to provide leadership and coordination for healthy housing work, in order to improve the health of vulnerable communities and families/whanau in the region, and reduce health care costs.

The Forum is a regionally-driven group, focused on providing insulation and other healthy homes interventions to both privately-owned and rented houses of whanau and families in BOP and Lakes.

Objectives of the Forum

  • Proactively seeking sustainable funding for Healthy Homes initiatives in the medium term across all potential funders to address housing needs in prioritised communities.
  • To explore efficiencies within community-based projects, so that costs can be reduced and more homes can be improve across the wider Bay of Plenty.
  • Ensuring good practice in the implementing of community-based healthy housing programmes that provide scale, quality and community engagement.


Key Documents


Meeting minutes


Regional Reports