Media Enquiries | Te Whatu Ora - Te Tai Tokerau

Media Enquiries

General Media Enquiries

Please contact Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora national media team if you have a media enquiry. 


Often if you can specify in an email what information you are requesting and provide your full contact, this can make the process more straightforward and help with record-keeping.

Official Information Act (OIA) Requests / Release of Patient Information under the Privacy Act

Requests under the Official Information Act 1982 should come firstly to the OIA team, who will acknowledge your request and advise on the response process.

Please visit the full OIA page for the detailed process and to view the latest responses. 


Click here for Release of Patient Information and Privacy Act guidelines.

Weekend Patient Condition Updates

For all emergency enquiries or patient condition updates, please call the Whangārei Hospital campus on (09) 430 4100 and ask to be put through to the hospital duty manager.  All requests for patient conditions, staff and patient interviews, photographs or filming must be made through the hospital duty manager.

Under no circumstances may interviews, filming or photography be carried out on all Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora Te Tai Tokerau hospital sites and facilities without permission from the communications unit team (on weekdays) or the hospital duty manager (holiday periods, after hours and at weekends). If you carry out filming or photography without permission, our hospital security teams will ask you to leave the site immediately.

Our role:

  • We do not release any personal information regarding a patient without the consent of the adult patient or, where the patient is a child, the consent of the parent or guardian.
  • We do release condition updates along with age and gender but will not confirm other details unless we have consent from the patient or their parent or guardian.

What patient condition updates mean:

  • Stable: condition unchanged
  • Comfortable: vital signs stable, within normal limits, patient conscious and comfortable, indicators favourable
  • Serious: vital signs stable and within normal limits, patient conscious but may be uncomfortable, indicators questionable
  • Critical: vital signs unstable, not within normal limits, patient may not be conscious, indicators unfavourable.

While we respect that some families may want to share information with the media, we respect and support other families' right to decide whether or not to engage with the media.

Often patients/parents will agree to pass on additional details to our communications team. We will obtain consent for this release of information as quickly as possible and report these additional facts.

When patients or their family members decline consent for release of information and request that all information about them or their child remains confidential, we are unable to comment on such patients.

Confirmation of a patient's death occurs only with family consent and after notifying next of kin.  Sometimes we will refer you to the police media liaison officer rather than comment ourselves.

Visiting Health New Zealand |Te Whatu Ora Te Tai Tokerau Hospitals

Health New Zealand |Te Whatu Ora Te Tai Tokerau is responsible for hospitals at Whangārei, Dargaville, Kawakawa and Kaitaia as well as smaller sites and clinics throughout our region.

The media and communications team must approve access by the media to any of our hospitals for professional duties.  Please let us know your needs in advance. If your plan includes photography of a patient, family or a staff member at one of our hospitals, we can obtain photo consent on your behalf in advance. This will avoid delays. In group situations, a member of the communications team will be on hand to let you know which patients you can photograph.

  • In consideration of the rights to confidentiality of our patients, their families and our staff, the communications team will confirm all recording and interviews on hospital property.
  • Patient or parental permission alone is insufficient consent. Clinicians have the right to override that consent taking into consideration patient safety, privacy for other patients and other factors such as infection control risks and staff concerns.
  • The communications team will advise on staff commitments, treatment schedules and requirements for infection control and arrange a mutually convenient time and location for your interview.
  • In the event of a trauma or an internal emergency, the media plays a vital role by providing the community with the latest news and public service announcements. Our disaster response plan includes operation of an on-site media centre to make sure your needs are met.


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