Public Health South

Public Health South is one of 12 Public Health Units in New Zealand and provides a regional public health service to the Southland and Otago region.

It is a service entity of the Southern District Health Board and has two service areas: Primary Health Services and Public Health Services. Use the menu bar to the left to find out about the services we offer, or click here to contact us.

What is Public Health?

"Public health is the art and science of preventing disease, prolonging life, and promoting health through the organised efforts  and informed choices of society, organisations, public and private, communities and individuals."
(C.E.A. Winslow, 1920)

To have a healthy population we not only need to heal people who are sick, but we also need to make sure that the physical and social environment we live in supports the health and wellbeing of everyone. For example, a healthy population requires clean air and water, access to enough income to support a reasonable quality of life, healthy working conditions, and knowledge about how to maintain wellbeing. The factors that impact on health are called 'determinants', some of which are shown in this diagram.

Public Health services are offered to populations rather than individuals and are considered a "public good". They fall into two broad categories - health protection and health promotion and aim to create or advocate for healthy social, physical and cultural environments. Public Health practitioners utilise population data to identify health issues and develop appropriate services aimed at improving health outcomes and protecting health gains. The overall goal of Public Health South is to be effective in preventing disease, minimising health risks and maximising health for the population in the region.








Southern DHB provides services to approximately 290,000 people or just over 7% of New Zealand's total population, living in eight territorial local authorities (TLAs). 

The Southern District Health Board boundaries include the whole of the Otago and Southland Regional Council boundaries and a very small part of Canterbury Regional Council.  Waitaki Territorial Authority receives health services from Southern DHB but a small number (1,548) of its residents are served by Canterbury Regional Council rather than Otago Regional Council.

DHB, Regional Council and TLA populations
Territorial Authority
Canterbury Regional Council Waitaki District (1) 1,548
Otago Regional Council Waitaki District (2) 18,675
Otago Regional Council Central Otago District 16,647
Otago Regional Council Clutha District 16,836
Otago Regional Council Dunedin City 118,689
Otago Regional Council Queenstown-Lakes District 22,962
Southland Regional Council Gore District 12,117
Southland Regional Council Invercargill City 50,325
Southland Regional Council Southland District 28,434
Total 286,233