PHA Awards

Each year the PHA honours an individual's or group's contribution to public health action through our prestigious public health awards, Public Health Champion and Tū Rangatira mō te Ora.

Public Health Champion

The Public Health Champion Award is to recognise and highlight the outstanding contribution of an individual to public health.

The recipient is someone working in public health who has focused on the PHA’s priorities in the past year; and/or has made a significant and ongoing contribution to public health over many years.

Nominees may be well known in a local community or be a well-known national public figure. Nominees can be non-members of the PHA, but priority will be given to nominations by members.

2019 Public Health Champion

Photo: 2019 Public Health Champion Sione Tu'itahi after receiving his award

We are delighted to announce that this year's recipient of the Public Health Champion award is Sione Tupou Tu’itahi. Sione is a Pacific leader in public health and health promotion nationally and internationally. He has dedicated his career to building the capacity of peoples and communities through education, health and community development.

Sione is an active member of the PHA, he was the first chair of the PHA's Pacific branch, he was also Pacific caucus representative on PHA's executive Council. Under his leadership and in partnership with Pacific PHA members he hosted a community Ava Feiloaiga at the Manukau AUT for the Minister of Health, Samoa and the Executive delegation as part of PHA's national conference in 2012. Sione was instrumental in the foundation of the Mana Ola network which brought together Pacific public health networks in NZ, enabled by funding secured by the PHA from the Ministry of Health. He served as executive member of this national initiative and provided its name.

Sione also has many achievements in the field of Health Promotion. For the first time ever, this year New Zealand hosted the 23rd World Conference on Health Promotion of the International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE). Sione was the co-organiser and co-chair of this successful forum. He became the first Indigenous Pasifika person to be elected a member of the IUHPE Global Executive Board (2019-2022). He was the first Pasifika and New Zealand public health leader to be Vice President of the South West Pacific Region of the International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE), a global umbrella organisation for health promotion organisations and professionals across the world and co-led the organising and the successful implementation of the first joint population health congress in New Zealand (2014).

Realising the need for Pacific Voices at the Health Promotion Forum of New Zealand presence he helped to establish Pacific representation at the governance level, a Pacific advisory group at the management level and a Pacific strategy and action plan. Similarly he helped to establish a Pacific team for the Auckland Regional Public Health Service, Auckland District Health Board and developed and implemented a Pacific strategy and action plan and co-founded the North Shore Pasifika Forum, Auckland, 2006, for the wellbeing of Pasifika peoples.

See past Public Health Champions.

2019 Tū Rangatira mō te Ora

The Māori Public Health Tū Rangatira mō te Ora Award is presented annually in recognition, of a person or rōpu who has consistently demonstrate commitment and leadership in hauora Māori and who has worked with Māori communities. This can also include those who have taken more prominent roles within whānau, hapū and/or iwi, including within marae.

Photo: Fay Selby-Law (left) and Nari Faiers (right) receive their award

We are delighted to announce that the recipient of the 2019 Tū Rangatira mō te Ora award is the National SUDI Prevention Coordination Service (NSPCS) at Hāpai te Hauroa under the leadership of Nari Faiers, Fay Selby-Law and Hinerangi Rhind-Wiri.

In 2019 NSPCS launched the national online training programme for SUDI (sudden unexpected death in infancy) prevention. This training was developed to support the workforce of maternal and child health, education, social and community services who work with whānau to provide nationally consistent SUDI prevention messaging and a number of resources to support engagement with communities across Aotearoa, especially whānau Māori who are disproportionately represented in SUDI.

The key objectives of the training programme were to increase the consistency and cultural appropriateness of SUDI prevention messaging; support clinical practice; and ensure messaging is consistent and reflects best practice within a kaupapa Māori framework.

The programme has been very successful: within six weeks of the training going live there has been a high level of uptake across the country with over 1500 users across Aotearoa and just over 130 globally.

See past Tū Rangatira mō te Ora Award recipients.

Past Award Recipients


 Public Health Champion

Tū Rangatira mō te Ora Award Recipient

Awards Location 


Mary-Ann McKibben and Keith Reid

Te Mata Rangatira-Hauraki Rangatahi Roopu



Dame Margaret Sparrow and Grant Berghan

Kathrine Clarke

Christchurch (Otautahi)


Catherine Healy and Anna Reed

Metira Turei



John Raeburn

Valerie Teraitua



Murray Laugesen

Carrie Taipari



Lance O'Sullivan

The Orakei Kaumatua and Kuia reference group

New Plymouth


Cindy Kiro and Alison Blaiklock

Helen Herbert



Dallas Honey

Te Puawaitanga ki Otautahi Trust



Robert Beaglehole and Ruth Bonita

Hon. Tariana Turia
(Inauguration of TRMTO award)



Cheryl Brunton




Marty Rogers


Te Tai Tokerau


Papaarangi Reid




Philippa Howden-Chapman


Palmerston North


Ann Shaw




Pauline Barnett




Mason Durie




Louise Croot




Judith Reinken and George Salmond




Paratene Ngata


Palmerston North


Helen Glasgow




The Tū Rangatira mō te Ora Award has been awarded since 2010.

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