News Working in Partnership to Reduce Harm

Working in Partnership to Reduce Harm

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Left to Right - Allan Kerrisk, Area Commander, New Zealand Fire Service, Alex Smits, General Manager Rugby League Northland and June Ross, Chief Fire Officer, Omapere

Left to Right – Allan Kerrisk, Area Commander, New Zealand Fire Service, Alex Smits, General Manager Rugby League Northland and June Ross, Chief Fire Officer, Omapere


Positively influencing the health choices individuals make on a daily basis has traditionally been the domain of the district health board.

Now, thanks to the New Zealand Fire Service, health promotion billboards are being trialed at Fire Station sites throughout Te Tai Tokerau in an effort to increase the exposure of positive health related messaging.

“As an emergency services partner we have taken the opportunity to partner the DHB to see if we can help make a difference”, offered Allan Kerrisk, New Zealand Fire Service Area Commander.  “New Zealand Police led the way with their support of the anti-violence billboard they placed on the Kaeo Police Station and that encouraged us to also get involved”.

‘Water is the best drink’ is the chosen message supported by New Zealand national rugby league representative and professional rugby league footballer Elijah Taylor who currently plays for the Penrith Panthers.

As the ambassador of the ‘Leadership through League’ programme that is run in partnership between the Northland DHB and Rugby League Northland Elijah supports the key health message ‘Water is the best drink’.

“The natural choice for hydration is water. It hydrates better than any other liquid, both before and during exercise”, Elijah explains.  “Water is much less expensive and more available than any other drink. Water is the best, but it only helps you if you drink it”.

“Clearly there was a synergy between ‘Water is the best drink’ and the New Zealand Fire Service”, offered Allan.  “The harm drink driving does on our roads is completely avoidable if drivers chose water instead of alcohol if they intend on driving their vehicle”.

“We are extremely grateful to Allan and his team for supporting our work”, said Kath Bowmar, the DHB’s Well Child Youth and Clinical Services manager. “Being supported by our partners strengthens our mahi and means we can reach many more people than we could if we had to work alone”.

Liz Inch, Communications Manager
Northland District Health Board

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