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Introduction to the New Zealand health system

He whakatakinga ki te pūnaha hauora o Aotearoa

Please note this course is now full. If you would like to go on a waiting list please email

Thursday, 4 February 2021

Introduction to the New Zealand health system provides a broad overview of the New Zealand health system and its evolution over time. The workshop aims to build an understanding of some of the on-going processes that shape health system change, and the current challenges our health system faces. The workshop is made up of a mixture of seminars by a range of speakers from different parts of the health system, discussions, and a practical exercise. By the end of the workshop, participants should have developed their own mental “map” of the health system and better understand the context and forces that shape the health sector.

Topics covered  

  • Background to the New Zealand Health System – how the system has evolved to the point it is at today
  • The nuts and bolts of a health system
  • Current key topics and influences on the health system
  • How health policy is developed and resources prioritised

Style of course

Small group – a mixture of teaching and discussion in a group of up to 25 people.

Who should attend?  

This workshop is intended primarily for people who have little or no knowledge of the New Zealand health system. Those who might be interested in learning more about the health system include those newly arrived in New Zealand, those who need to know about the health system for their work, and those who are simply curious about this complex and ever changing sector and the types of big picture forces that shape frontline work and professional and public experiences of the health system.

COVID-19 contingency plan

If COVID Alert Level restrictions prevent in-person/face-to-face delivery of this course, it will be delivered online the same day, and a credit of $100 given ($50 for those paying staff/student rate).

If the course is able to be delivered in person, but a participant cannot travel to Wellington due to COVID Alert Level restrictions, the course fee will be refunded in full.

Draft timetable

Time Content Presenter(s)
9am Welcome, Introductions, Aims for course Johanna Reidy      
9:15am The Evolution of the New Zealand Health System
This section provides an overview of the development of New Zealand’s health system since the 1930s, setting the scene for discussion of today’s health system
Johanna Reidy
10:30am Morning break
11am The nuts and bolts of a health system
This session examines what a health system is and what it is supposed to do using New Zealand as and example.
12:30pm Lunch break
1:15pm New Zealand’s Changing Health System
An interactive session on the main drivers behind trends the health system today.
3pm Afternoon break
3:15pm New Trends
Insights into work regional level: challenges and opportunities
4:15pm 4:30pm Summary of course and Evaluation

 Teaching staff  

  • Johanna Reidy has worked in a number of roles in the New Zealand health system and overseas. She is a lecturer in the Department of Public health and teaches in the DPH programme.

Course cost  

$300 early bird, $400 after Tuesday 22 December 2020.

A 50% discount is available to full-time students, those unwaged and University of Otago staff.

Register now

Note COVID-19 contingency plan above. Any questions please see FAQ page or email