Physical Environments | Te Whatu Ora - Te Tai Tokerau

Physical Environments

Click below for more information regarding:

Burial and Cremation

The Health Protection Officers provide advice in regard to various activities associated with burial and cremation. The following are some of the key activities:

  • Providing input for establishing new crematoria
  • Advising on the international transportation (repatriation) of bodies between countries
  • Providing advice to applicants around the statutory obligations relating to the disinterment process
  • Supervising the procedure to ensure that public health is protected.

Please download information related to disinterment:


On-Call Health Protection Officer Ph: 09-4304100

Civil Defence Emergency Management

Medical Officers of Health and Health Protection Officers have specific powers in an emergency to help prevent the spread of an infectious disease and are trained in CIMS (coordinated incident management system). CIMS is an internationally used structure to systematically manage emergency incidents that allow multiple agencies to work together in emergencies. The public health unit (PHU) may be a lead or a support agency in an emergency working alongside the District Health Board, emergency providers such as Fire Service, ambulance and Police, Civil Defence Emergency Management Groups or a government agency or Ministry.

The PHU has legislative and contractual obligations to the Ministry of Health and Northland District Health Board to provide public health services during all phases of an incident or emergency.

Civil defence and emergency management practice is based on the 4R’s namely, Reduction, Readiness, Response and Recovery. In the reduction and readiness phase, the PHU maintains up to date epidemiological surveillance data and develops and maintains plans specific to public health emergencies. During the response phase, the PHU will respond to emergencies involving risk to public health, contribute to epidemiological surveillance and communicate with the relevant emergency operation centres (EOC). The PHU coordinates public health initiatives during the recovery phase.

Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO)

The role of the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Enforcement Officer (HSNO EO) Ngā Tai Ora - Public Health Northland is to provide advice about hazardous substances outside the workplace, and undertake compliance and enforcement around the use of Vertebrate Toxic Agents.

The principal areas of work are:

  • Issuing Permissions for the use of 1080, cyanide compounds, phosphorus and 3-chloro-p-toluidine hydrochloride on land where there is a risk to public health or where water is drawn for human consumption.  Should you need to use these toxins, please contact the team with information about the operation, so a HSNO EO can undertake a public health risk assessment.
  • Assess the risk to the health of the public exposed to friable asbestos in the home. In some cases
  • The team may be able to arrange asbestos sampling where it is present in the home in a friable condition and poses a health risk to the occupants.
  • Providing lead paint testing in the home or places where there is a health risk to public.
  • Assess the risk to the health of people exposed to agricultural or pesticide sprays.
  • Investigate incidents, enquiries and complaints where there is an impact on or concerns to the health of the public with high blood-lead levels or exposure to hazardous substances.
  • Undertaking inspection and surveillance of retail outlets and recall of products containing hazardous substances that are considered a risk to public health.
  • Working collaboratively with other agencies such as WorkSafe, Northland Regional Council, Fire and Emergency Services and Department of Conservation on incidents involving hazardous substances.

Useful Links


  • For information on hazardous substances, contact a HSNO Enforcement Officer on 09-4304100
  • For after house enquiries, call the On-call Health Protection Officer on 09-430 4100
Mosquito Surveilance

Exotic mosquitoes pose a potential threat to public health.  Mosquitoes can spread diseases to humans, transmitting Dengue Fever, Ross River Virus, Yellow Fever, Malaria, West Nile Virus, Japanese Encephalitis and Zika Virus.  Dengue, for example, is prevalent in all Pacific island nations, except New Zealand. The risk of disease-carrying mosquitoes reaching NZ increases with global warming and international travel, and more than half the world is at risk from the diseases borne by these insects.

Unwanted mosquito species are regularly intercepted at our international borders, and they enter the country via a number of pathways.  To ensure these exotics do not establish themselves in New Zealand, Health Protection staff from the Public Health Unit (PHU) maintain a mosquito surveillance programme around our ports of entry, namely Marsden Pt Refinery, Northport Log Port, Onerahi Airport, Kerikeri Airport and Opua Marina.

The Northland DHB Health Protection Unit has a well-developed strategy to provide early identification of exotic mosquitoes and to prevent the establishment of exotic mosquito species of public health significance, in the Northland Health District.

If you have any enquiries or concerns regarding mosquitoes please phone the On-call Health Protection Officer, or you can ring the toll-free Mosquito Hotline number  0800 Mossie (0800 66 99 43) from anywhere in New Zealand.

Click here for more information:  Border health | Ministry of Health.

Quarantine & Biosecurity

The Public Health Unit provides technical and professional advice on public health issues relating to biosecurity and quarantine purposes and undertakes work in relation to:

  • Managing risks related to imported goods,
  • Monitoring for and controlling pests that carry diseases at ports of entry,
  • Preparing and testing emergency response plans,
  • Responding to reported sickness onboard air/sea craft arriving in New Zealand,
  • Ensuring airport and seaport environs are kept in a sanitary state
  • Ensuring that water supplied to aircraft and international ships is potable and that sampling to ensure compliance with WHO standards is carried out,
  • Ensuring adequate sewage and refuse disposal facilities for aircraft and the aircraft environs are provided
  • Maintaining records and reporting on work undertaken
  • Liaison with the Ministry of Health, local government and other providers.
Resource Management

Medical Officers of Health and Health Protection Officers provide technical and professional input on submissions for Resource Management Act consents which could potentially affect the health of the general population.

Submissions are made on the local and regional district council plans and policies in respect of public health issues, for example, annual and long term plans, bylaws, gambling and local alcohol policies.

Waste Management

Safe disposal of refuse and hazardous waste is recognised as one of the most significant practices contributing to the protection of public health.

Waste disposal and treatment facilities inappropriately managed can pose a threat to public health.  Waste may contain hazardous materials and mismanaged waste sites can also provide an excellent environment to support pathogens and disease vectors (rats, flies).

Refuse collection and disposal is primarily the responsibility of territorial authorities and regional councils.  Ngā Tai Ora participates by making formal submissions on any waste disposal/recycling bylaws and makes submissions on land use consents issued for waste disposal purposes.  The purpose behind these submissions will be to ensure public health is protected during the operation of a site and that waste is managed in such a way that the effects on public health of these contaminants are minimised. 

Public health services have a role to:

  • reduce or avoid adverse health effects with respect to the management and control of liquid and solid waste, including effects arising from exposure to contaminated sites.
  • risk assess and deal effectively with incidents and complaints in relation to waste facilities in order to minimise risk to public health.

Waste management is dealt with under several pieces of legislation, namely:

  1. The Health Act 1956 requires territorial authorities to provide for sanitary works including the collection and disposal of refuse and other offensive matter and places a duty on territorial authorities to determine and abate any nuisance or condition likely to be injurious to health or offensive.
  2. The Resource Management Act 1991 is to promote the sustainable management of natural and physical resources through the management and control of the discharge of contaminants into/onto land, air, water and issue of land use permits.  This Act provides for the control of adverse effects on the environment, which includes effects on the health of people and communities.
  3. The Local Government Act 1974 (particularly Part 31) specifies refuse collection and disposal responsibilities for territorial authorities.


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