Workforce Development and Training

Public health is about promoting health and wellbeing, protecting against community health threats, and preventing illness across population groups - locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.

Workforce development is not just about training and workshops. It includes a wide variety of elements including:

  • Monitoring of workforce development trends and strategic planning
  • Development of effective and efficient infrastructure to support workforce development
  • Creation of learning cultures through critical and reflective practice
  • Support and collaboration through group meetings and resource development
  • Sharing of knowledge and opportunities.

Strategic planning and acitvities

What's happening nationally? 

Te Uru Kahikatea

Te Uru Kahikatea is the Ministry of Health's Public Health Workforce Development plan, aimed at equipping the public health workforce for future industry and population challenges. Supporting this strategy is the TUK Māori Workplan and Taeao o Tautai, Pacific Public Health Workforce Development Implementation Plan. All of these plans have now completed their current lifecycle and are under review.


Public Health Workforce

The public health workforce development information on the Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora website offers further information and resources about public health workforce development at a national level.

Training and continuing education for health professionals

Online courses, webinars and podcasts

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Online courses

The Health Promotion Forum of New Zealand, Runanga Whakapiki Ake i Te Hauora o Aotearoa, offers a range of online courses to support development of health promotion theory and practice. Courses currently include Determinants of Health, Mainstream Health Promotion, Māori Health Promotion, and Pasifika Health Promotion. Check their website for more details and costs. 

The Ministry of Health development website, LearnOnline, provides professional education and training for health professionals in New Zealand.  New courses are added as these become available, providing opportunities for a wide range of health practice areas.

Coursera is an international site which offers a range of courses of public health interest – many of which are free to access at your own pace.



Check out the following sites for some great webinars in public health and associated topics.

The Health Promotion Forum of NZ has a YouTube channel which includes recordings from webinars and other video resources. Check it out here. These include, for example: 

Toi Tangata
is a Māori agency championing kaupapa Māori based approaches to health, movement and nutrition. Under the site section 'Our Mahi', you'll find a link to workforce development - 
Toi Ako webinars. A great range of training sessions, including for example:

Community Research
gathers research about New Zealand's tangata whenua, community and voluntary sector and shares this via an online hub. To view recent webinars, 
check out their website. These include, for example: 

Check out also He Kōrero, Community Research podcast series one – Te Tiriti Kōrero

Activity and Nutrition Aotearoa (ANA)
is no longer active, but has retained for public access a range of webinars on public health nutrition and physical activity interventions and strategies. You can find these here. These include, for example: 

TED Talks provides some good playlists, general talks and articles about “
public health” … topics like: mobilising healthier communities, cultural and social influences on health, specific health conditions and experiences, the future of health. You can search for a wide range of other public health related topics, including culture, climate change, epidemiology, evolutionary psychology, public spaces and more.

Some other interesting event or presentation recordings are also available at the links below:

On the international stage, s
ome useful webinars can be found as follows:



There are a wide range of relevant podcasts available online; here are the links to just a few:

Scholarships and funding

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A number of scholarships are available in relation to training and development in the field of public health.  

Hauora Māori Scholarships, for example, provide financial assistance to students who are undertaking or completing a course in health and disability studies that has been accredited by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA).

Māori Provider Development Scheme (MPDS) 

Funding may be available to contracted Māori health providers and health providers who are significant providers of health and disability services to Māori.

Pacific health and disability workforce awards 

These awards provide financial assistance to students undertaking a course in health or disability-related studies accredited by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) or the New Zealand Vice Chancellors Committee.

Careers pathways and employment

Education and training

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Public health can be studied at a number of institutes throughout New Zealand, including Ara Institute of Canterbury, Auckland University of Technology, Massey University, Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology, University of Auckland, University of Canterbury, and University of Otago. Public health workers can enter the field from a range of backgrounds; however some relevant qualification options which focus on public health pathways are listed below.


Undergraduate study

  • Certificate in Public Health
  • Bachelor of Applied Science (health promotion or public health majors)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Social Science (public health major)
  • Bachelor of Community Health (health promotion major)
  • Bachelor of Science or Health Science (environmental health, health promotion, health protection or public health majors)

Postgraduate study

  • Graduate Diploma in Environmental Health
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Public Health
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health
  • Master of Public Health
  • Master of Health Science (environment & health or health & community majors)


Health Protection Officer

In order to practice as a Health Protection Officer, you must hold an appropriate qualification; a Bachelor of Science, Applied Science or Health Science plus a postgraduate qualification in environmental health. You also need to be appointed by the Director-General of Health.  More information on recognised qualifications can be found on the Ministry of Health website.

Public Health Physician/ Medical Officer of Health

Public Health Physicians are qualified doctors, with clinical experience, who have also undertaken specialist training in public health medicine. To become a public health physician, you will generally need to complete a Bachelor Degree in Medicine and Surgery and postgraduate public health qualifications.

A Medical Officer of Health is a public health physician who has then gone on to be appointed by the Director-General of Health to carry out a range of legislated public health responsibilities.

Kia ora hauora

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Kia Ora Hauora works to increase the number of Māori working in the health and disability sector.  The service engages with Māori students, current health workers, and community members seeking a career in health to promote health careers and provide knowledge, tools and resources to support Māori into clinical and non-clinical health careers. The website includes role profiles, funding, and job search function, linking to job opportunities throughout New Zealand. Sign up for their e-panui to get updates.

The video below is a joint venture between Kia Ora Hauora and Toi Te Ora Public Health with support from Hawkes Bay Population Health to support Māori into a career in public health. For more information on a career in public health see Kia Ora Hauora

Current vacancies

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Public health related vacancies can arise in a range of organisations. Public health units, Māori Health Providers, non-government organisations, tertiary institutions, charities and community groups are just some of the organisations who often recruit to public health roles.


Internships and student support

Toi Te Ora supports student development opportunities where service commitments and space allows. To enquire about possible opportunities contact us.


PGY2 and Registrars

Toi Te Ora is able to support PGY2 doctors and public health registrars with experience and placement as capacity allows. To find out more about this programme contact us.


Health Protection Officer internships

Toi Te Ora provides an opportunity for health protection trainees to gain the practical experience they need in order to apply for designation as an HPO. The opportunity is offered to one student per year and implemented over the summer months.



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Ministry of Health
The Ministry of Health is the Government's principal advisor on health and disability. The website offers a range of information and publications including the main organisations and structures in the health system, specific health and disability programmes, projects, and regulations.  It is also a central location for accessing New Zealand health data and health statistics.

Health Workforce NZ

Health Workforce New Zealand (HWNZ) provides national leadership on the development of the country’s health and disability workforce.  

Public Health Association 
The Public Health Association (PHA) is a voluntary association that takes a leading role in promoting public health and influencing public policy.  The website provides a range of resources, key public health documents, training and membership information.

Te Hiringa Hauora 

Te Hiringa Hauora/Health Promotion Agency is a New Zealand Crown entity leading and delivering programmes and activities to promote and enable health, wellbeing and healthy lifestyles. It also provides advice and research on alcohol issues.

Health Promotion Forum 
The Health Promotion Forum of New Zealand - Runanga Whakapiki ake i te Hauora o Aotearoa works to support leadership, relationships and the health promotion workforce. The website has tools, information on training, conferences, workshops, Māori and Pacific models, and links to key strategies.

Le Va - Pacific
Le Va, Pasifika within Te Pou, is New Zealand’s national coordination service and workforce development programme for Pacific mental health, addictions, disabilities and general health.

Te Rau Ora 

Te Rau Ora supports Māori workforce development to enhance whanau ora, health and wellbeing. They provide national and local workforce policy, research, training, career advancement, bursary programmes, scholarships and regularly updated information and resources for people accessing or working in health.

Community Matters; Department of Internal Affairs
This website provides useful advice and support for the community sector, including community profiles to help identify and understand the current and future trends in social, economic, environmental, and cultural well-being of New Zealand communities. There is also information on funding for community organisations, community research, successful initiatives, useful toolkits and publications.

The Community Internship Programme  funds hapu, iwi or community groups with identified development needs to employ skilled professionals from the public, iwi, private or community sectors as interns for three to six months. The programme is designed to achieve specific capacity-building outcomes for host hapu, iwi or community organisations, and relationship-building outcomes between the public, private, iwi or community sectors.

Community Net Aotearoa
The Community Resource Kit is a guide to setting up and running community groups in New Zealand, for community, voluntary and iwi/Māori organisations, from small or emerging groups to more established organisations, and all the workers, volunteers and advisors working with these groups. The website has great practical guides, toolkits on anything from funding to advocacy and research.

Bay Navigator
Bay Navigator is a joint initiative between primary and secondary care in the Bay of Plenty, designed to improve the quality and flow of healthcare across the region. This website is designed as an information and communication portal for all health professionals in the Bay of Plenty.


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Health Equity Assessment Tool: User Guide
The Health Equity Assessment Tool (HEAT) is an important resource in public health work, providing support to health decision makers in consideration and tackling of health inequalities. This link takes you through to the user guide, which can assist in application of the tool.  

Models for Health Promotion
A range of models are used in health promotion work; here are links to a few most commonly utilised: 

Other Health Promotion Resources

Health Literacy

There are a wide range of great health literacy resources available. If you are looking for some support on developing a health literacy framework, evaluating health literacy ideas or support with awareness training of staff within your organisation please contact our Public Health Development Advisor.

You can also register as a health professional on the Australian Health Literacy Hub and gain access to a wide range of research, resources and tools, including:

  • Resources - summary sheets, factsheets and info graphics for public, management and for clinicians.

Public health competencies

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Competency is defined as “the ability to apply particular knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values to the standard of performance required in specified contexts.” There are a variety of competency frameworks within the health sector. 

In the public health context, competencies can help identify the common skills, knowledge and values which can be embedded across all public health sectors and disciplines for the delivery of essential public health services. Below are the public health competency frameworks currently used in New Zealand.

Generic Competencies for Public Health in Aotearoa/New Zealand 2007

The generic public health competencies (GPHCs) for public health provide a minimum baseline set of competencies that is common to all public health roles across all public health sectors and disciplines. They are intended for use by practitioners, managers, policy makers and analysts, educators and trainers, and funders and planners.

Health Promotion Competencies for Aotearoa New Zealand 2012 

These competencies are a framework for health promoters as well as those working in other areas where their role reflects the Ottawa Charter definition and principles of health promotion (e.g. kaimahi or community health development). The purpose of this tool is to identify and define the behaviours, skills, knowledge, and attitudes that health promoters need to work effectively and appropriately with Maori and other peoples, communities, and organisations in Aotearoa New Zealand to improve health and health equity and address the determinants of health.

Te Ture Whakaruruhau – Code of Ethical Principles for Public Health in Aotearoa New Zealand 2012

This code, produced by the Public Health Association (PHA), provides guidelines for public health professionals, managers and organisations to support ethical public health practice in New Zealand.