Kia ora, Kia orana, Talofa, Malo e lelei, Ni sa bula, Malo ni

Welcome to the PHA – a collective voice for a healthy Aotearoa New Zealand!

The Public Health Association (PHA) is a national membership association with a commitment to health for all.

We provide opportunity for people who share this commitment to

  • Be part of a collective voice on the social determinants of health
  • Gather, share and learn with others who work in public health
  • Influence policy to improve the health of all New Zealanders
  • Keep up to date with events and issues in the public health sector.

Our vision: health equity in Aotearoa
Hauora mō te katoa. Oranga mō te ao.

Get curious

Get engaged

Get involved


Obituary for PHA President Dr Fran McGrath


Iti rearea, teitei Kahikatea ka taea

As the smallest bellbird can reach the highest kahikatea tree in the forest

age does not limit our success

We were saddened and shocked to learn yesterday of the sudden death of our new President Fran McGrath on Sunday. Fran had only just begun her term last week, and Wellington Branch were looking forward to celebrating with her at their AGM last night the success of the branch’s remit at the national AGM, to grant Fran a Lifetime Membership to the PHA.

Fran was certainly worthy of such a remit. She had a long and distinguished career in our health sector. She completed a medical degree at Otago University in Dunedin, followed by volunteer positions in rural and low income communities, which lead her to specialise in public health at the University of Otago Wellington. The wide range of experiences in Fran’s career is worth noting; she worked across many areas of the New Zealand health sector as well as in developing countries, including Central America and Thailand and spent a year working in the Cook Islands. She served on several World Health Organization expert groups and represented New Zealand at a number of meetings of the World Health Assembly. After many years working at the Ministry of Health Fran had only recently retired as Chief Advisor in the Office of the Chief Medical Officer. She also served as Deputy Director of Public Health and as senior health advisor to a number of Health Ministers over the years.

In addition to these demanding paid roles, Fran never stopped contributing to the sector in a voluntary capacity. She was on the Oxfam NZ Board and also very involved in the NZ College of Public Health Medicine, where she served on the College’s Council and held the position of Chief Examiner for many years. At the time of her death, she was a current member of the College Policy Committee and was actively engaged in the College’s policy and advocacy work.

Perhaps for us, though, Fran will be remembered as a stalwart of the Public Health Association, actively involved with us for thirty years. She served two terms as a member of our Executive Council and two terms as President. She worked with Council and the Māori Caucus to create the PHA’s first Māori governance roles. She was an active branch member of both Canterbury/West Coast branch when she resided there, and then Wellington branch. At this local level she stepped into leadership as treasurer, as conference convenor or as chair, whatever and whenever the branch called on her. As chair she led Wellington branch in establishing the first Post-Budget Breakfast, which has become an annual and popular feature of the public health calendar in Wellington, and led to a valuable stakeholder partnership between the PHA and the Child Poverty Action Group. It was for all these contributions and the way she advised and supported so many members personally, that we voted for Wellington Branch’s remit this year, to grant Fran her lifetime membership.

We celebrate her commitment, loyalty and generosity of spirit to public health matters and to our organisation.

We extend our condolences to Fran’s husband Edwin and family.

Not a member?

We're only as strong as our members, please consider joining the PHA and helping us work to a healthier New Zealand.

Public Health Association Logo

What's New

Upcoming events

The PHA – a strong and informed collective voice for a healthy and well New Zealand.

Privacy | Contact

Copyright © Public Health Association of New Zealand 2016

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software