Physical Environments | Northland DHB

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 allows 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.

Early Childhood Centres

We inspect Early Childhood Centres for compliance with the Early Childhood Regulations (2008) in respect to licensing requirements with the Ministry of Education. Early childhood centre environments may present health risks to children, staff and other people who spend time at the centre. This in turn creates a risk to public health.

Our staff has a limited regulatory role and regularly assesses Early Childhood Centres (ECC) under the Education Early Childhood Centres Regulations (2008). The inspection covers a range of factors including: drinking water, sewage disposal, food safety and nutrition, sanitary facilities, sleeping areas, communicable disease control, heating, lighting, ventilation and noise and general safety and hygiene. Public health services will be undertaking assessments of early childhood centres from two aspects: compliance with legislative requirements; and assessment of health risk.

We have a representation on the “Celebrating Northland’s Tamariki” conference committee.  This conference is held biannually for all staff and personnel involved in providing early childhood education services in Northland.


Co-ordinator for Early Childhood Centres Ph: 09-430 4100 Extn 7930


Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO)

The role of the Public Health Unit is to provide advice and enforce regulations pertaining to Hazardous Substances where there is an increased public health risk to the wider population.

The principle areas of work for the Public Health Unit 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 water is draw for human consumption is drawn.  The Public Health Unit should be contacted if these toxins are laid in these circumstances.
  • Arranging asbestos sampling in some circumstances 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 health risk to public.
  • Undertaking inspection and monitoring of retail outlets and recall of products containing hazardous substances that are considered a risk to public health.
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB’s) the issuing of extensions for the storage of PCB’s this expires 2016 and any PCB’s should have been removed for disposal.
  • Responding to incidents, enquires and complaints where there is an impact on or concerns over the use of hazardous substances and the effect on the public’s health.
  • Working collaboratively with other agencies such as WorkSafe, Northland Regional Council, Department of Conservation and Fire Service on incidents involving hazardous substances.

Useful Links


On-call Health Protection Officer Ph: (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 concern 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 on board 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 Disposal

Sewage treatment plants and solid waste disposal sites are audited regularly by the Health Protection Officers. Advice is offered to councils and public on safe sewage disposal and waste management, ensuring protection of public health.


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