What is a locality?

A locality is a place-based approach to improving the health of populations, as well as a mechanism for organising health and social services to meet the needs identified by whānau, community and mana whenua.

Behind the scenes, a locality is a model that is being used to connect health care, support services, Iwi and community organisations within a particular area in New Zealand.

Eventually, every area in New Zealand will have its own locality.

The locality model

The locality model is built on the understanding that a whole range of different things can impact a person’s wellbeing. It focuses on avoiding people getting sick and helping whānau stay well, giving iwi and communities a strong voice in deciding what’s needed in their local area, and getting different health and wellbeing organisations working together better to improve people’s experiences of healthcare. 

This will replace the way things were done through District Health Boards and Primary Healthcare Organisations. The same people are doing this work now, but the way they will do the work is changing.

Iwi and the local community will determine their own geographic area that will become the ‘locality’. The areas will be small enough to still have a local feel for the people that live there. Everyone in Aotearoa will fit into a locality that reflects their community. 

This new way of delivering healthcare closer to people’s homes is already being developed. Nine areas around the country are being trialled. 

How localities will help all New Zealanders

It is the work that happens within the locality that will make a difference to people’s health and wellbeing: 

  • Iwi and communities will be involved in deciding on the health priorities for their community. For example, one locality might have a need for more diabetes support – and it will be up to local partnerships to agree on whether dedicated services are needed.
  • The care and support that is delivered will be joined up across different health and wellbeing providers. For example, someone’s GP, local pharmacist and in-home nurse will work better together to provide the wraparound care and support that person needs.
  • Health and wellbeing providers will be connected to other community organisations that have a role in supporting people. This will ensure that we can better support all of whānau’s needs, across areas like housing, employment and finances, alongside healthcare.

Things will be different for people once a locality is up and running: 

  • They won’t have to talk to as many people to get the full range of care that they need. That’s because different health and wellbeing providers will work together behind the scenes.
  • Healthcare providers will be linked into social care agencies. So, if someone is having trouble paying rent, that will be taken into account when their health and wellbeing is being assessed.
  • People will have more opportunities to influence what healthcare services are available in their communities.

Read the latest localities update