Enhancing Health in Schools Nationwide

This is a guide designed to give you a snapshot of the much larger mahi. We encourage you to view the full document including the full references and data included in the discussion document above.

Through a partnership between Te Whatu Ora and the Society of Youth Health Professionals Aotearoa New Zealand (SYHPANZ). Te Whatu Ora determined SYHPANZ would focus on recommendations for the ‘Enhancement of School Based Health Services’ in Aotearoa.

In March 2020, a group of twelve Youth Health professionals was brought together by SYHPANZ to form the National Youth Health Leadership Group.  These individuals were selected for:

  • their expertise in developing SBHS models and workforce,
  • their experience working in school models,
  • their experience working with young people, and
  • their wider contributions to the Youth Health sector.

Te Whatu Ora confirmed that SYHPANZ’s in-depth knowledge of the Youth Health sector, membership expertise, and extensive networks was well-placed to approach the sector directly for members.

This group of twelve represents a variety of regions (including rural), health professions, and workplaces with differing current models of school-based health care delivery. Within the Youth Health sector, they are considered health experts and youth advocates. A number are also recognised international Youth Health researchers. We acknowledge that the Youth Health workforce is predominantly female, and therefore we note that there is low representation of male in the NYHLG at this stage.

Māori and Pacific peoples are represented in NYHLG, and the group is advised by the Kaumatua of SYHPANZ. Part of our initial work is to establish the process and people who will ensure that Treaty obligations, cultural safety, and equity are embedded throughout the way that the NYHLG works.

By mid-2020 as NYHLG became firmly established and the workplan was well underway SYHPANZ Kaumatua was able to have this group acknowledged and gifted a new name Te Tatau Kitenga (Te Tatau), which translates as The Doorway to Foresight to recognise the group’s strategic vision for rangatahi/young people and their function as door holders for others.

In August 2020 SYHPANZ and the Ministry agreed to the establishment of a group within Te Tatau that is focused on equity and Māori rangatahi and Kaimahi. Matua gifted a second name Te Roopū Mātanga o Rangatahi (Te Roopū), which translates as The Watchmen of Rangatahi. It is recognised that members of this group are also part of Te Tatau rather than being a separate group and work in partnership to embed equity for this valuable mahi.


There have been nurses in schools in Aotearoa New Zealand in different forms over the years, with the Ministry of Education formally funding some nursing in decile 1 schools in Auckland and some in Porirua in 2001. That was called the AIMHI programme and was about assessment in schools with a little bit of referral and follow-up. This continued until 2007 when the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Social Development took up funding of schools that were already funded, and a best practice review was conducted where the Centre of Youth Health and Auckland University looked at what you would need to have a good school-based health service.

Over time since then there have been few iterations in funding that have been freed up to allow up to decile 5 and teen parent units but alongside those additional pastoral resources as well as different funders going into schools now providing a range of different services to youth.


Recognising that the best outcomes for youth come when youth voices are included, not just as a sample or focus group but as an equal partner has been vital. With the successful formation of the National Youth Advisory Group now known at Māngai Whakatipu, which is responsible for consultation with peer groups and school leaders and giving detailed feedback on recommendations from the advisory group.

The group is made up of different young people from from from different nationalities and genders, representing also the disabled sector. Click here to learn more about the group.


Young people make up 25% of the population of Aotearoa New Zealand (1,250,000 of 5 million, aged 10-19 years).

Young people are considered a specific demographic regarding health due to the “physical, sexual, psychological and social developmental changes all taking place at the same time”.

The behaviors, health-seeking behaviors, and other important skills established during adolescence can have ongoing impacts throughout adulthood. Due to these experiences, changes, and challenges health professionals working with rangatahi require an expert skillset beyond the clinical qualifications and knowledge expected in general nursing and medical practice.


SBHS has the potential to impact the health of secondary school students by providing accessible, comprehensive, and intensive health services.

How would it look if young people set their priorities for their future: Living healthy, thriving, culturally rich lives with a hopeful outlook for their future?


  • Young people have the skills they need to live healthy lives: Tino Uaratanga “I have Potential”, Wairua “I am essential”, Rangatiranga “I have self-determination”.
  • Young people have the connections and relationships they need to support them to be healthy: Aroha I matter Whakapapa “I belong”, and Whanaunagatanga “I am connected”.
  • Young people have access to high quality, culturally embracing SBHS: Te Reo “I have mana”, Ōritetanga “I am equal”, and Manaakitanga “I am valued”.


When we kōrero about rangatahi, we have a duty to ensure that they can look towards the future with hope and aspiration. We also have a commitment to ensure that they can see themselves thrive and can carry out their own journey and foster their progression, that is where the following Te Ūkaipō framework comes in and enables SBHS to foster this environment for the rangatahi that engage these services.

Te Ūkaipō can be viewed as a reference point for rangatahi to begin, or to extend their understanding of a value system that is strength-based and mana enhancing. The intertwining of the rākau that form the kōhanga symbolise the inextricable link of one value to the other – whereby it enhances the one above as well as the one below.

Te Rōpū shared kōrero about how important connections are for rangatahi and that whenua/marae are places of connections and healing for Māori philosophy and purpose draw on the stories of this whenua, which form ritual for proper engagement between two peoples.

Where are we now?

To keep up to date with where this project is at you can go to our Enhancement of SBHS update page, click here to go there now for the very latest information