Mike TomlinsonWelcome to our annual review for the 2018-19 year. We are delighted to have this opportunity to report on and showcase the achievements of the Heart Foundation which are made possible by the life-changing generosity of our donors, supporters and volunteers. In July 2018 we introduced our updated Strategic Plan for 2018-2021 and we are making great progress towards the three strategic goals in the areas of prevention, care and support, and research.

These focus areas drive all our work and help us achieve our vision - Hearts fit for life.

Ground-breaking research

Last September we announced a huge $4.3 million dollars of new funding for heart research and specialist training for New Zealand cardiologists. Thanks to the generous support of our donors the Board was able to award an extra $1 million in recognition of the Heart Foundation’s 50th Anniversary Year. These awards will support ground-breaking research to improve cardiovascular care here in New Zealand as well as on the global stage. Our sincere thanks to the members of our Scientific Advisory Group who volunteer their time and expertise in the grants process.

Heart-healthy lifestyle education

In February the Food Curriculum project was launched to great success. The programme supports teachers by giving them resources and helps educate the future generations of heart-healthy New Zealanders on how to cook a healthy meal.

Our Food and Nutrition team also held professional development workshops for teachers throughout the country. The success of these workshops came down to collaboration, knowledge sharing and participation of teachers, as well as the generous support of trusts, whose funding makes the sessions possible.

Our Pacific Heartbeat team is focused on delivering programmes to help improve health outcomes for Pacific people and delivered 13 Workforce Nutrition Courses this year. The team also expanded the breadth of its relationships in Pacific communities.

Supporting people in local communities

Community engagement and information sessions for people living with heart disease continue to prove their value up and down the country. Sessions on a range of specialist topics are only possible through the collaboration of Heart Foundation staff and volunteers working in local communities. We are very appreciative of the time that cardiologists and health professionals give to these sessions to help people live well with their condition.

People told us they have a need for more heart health resources, so we have added to our range of support information to help people to live well with a chronic illness.

We continued to help health professionals in primary care with information on heart health and risk factors to support their care for people. Encouraging a healthy lifestyle remains a key foundation to the management of everyone regardless of their risks of heart disease.

Our life-saving heart attack awareness TV campaign was on air every month during the year in review. Made possible by the generosity of our donors, this TV ad continues to save lives by promoting better understanding of early warning signs.

We receive welcome feedback from people like heart attack survivor Shennett of Northland who says if it wasn’t for the Heart Foundation ad, she wouldn’t have called 111 so soon to receive help.

Our work in communities across New Zealand is only possible with the generosity of people who give their time and skills in a range of different ways. Our heartfelt thanks to all who volunteered their support during the year.

New leadership

Clive Nelson

In April we said farewell to Tony Duncan after 16 years as Chief Executive. Tony oversaw the development of the Heart Foundation as an organisation that delivered resources and programmes to one that is now focused on the primary and secondary prevention of heart disease and the promotion of heart healthy wellbeing.

Clive Nelson has since joined the Heart Foundation as the new Chief Executive. Clive has a wealth of experience and joins the Heart Foundation having held Chief Executive and general management roles in Crown-owned and commercial organisations.

Our thanks and appreciation to the members of our Board, Strategic Advisory Group and Investment Committee who, as volunteers, are incredibly generous with their time, knowledge and professional expertise.

Maintaining life-changing momentum

On behalf of the Board, I join Clive in offering a big thank you to our Heart Foundation team for their hard work and commitment. We have achieved much together this year and we look forward to continuing that momentum under Clive’s leadership in 2019-20.

We are incredibly grateful for the lifechanging support that we receive from our generous donors who make our work possible. With the ongoing support of our donors, volunteers and stakeholders we look forward to another great year of progress toward our vision - Hearts fit for life.

Mike Tomlinson

Clive Nelson
Chief Executive

Gerry DevlinBack in 1968, a dedicated group of cardiologists and business people founded the Heart Foundation with a clear vision to improve the heart-health of every Kiwi.

Funding and supporting world-class research and specialist training for New Zealand cardiologists was, and is, a cornerstone of our work.

Enabled by the generosity and life changing support of our donors, the Heart Foundation is New Zealand's leading independent funder of heart research. This year we awarded $4.3 million dollars of funding, bringing the total awarded since 1968 to more than $70 million.

We received many high-quality research applications across the whole cardiovascular health benchto-bedside spectrum; basic science, public health, prevention and patient management.

Our intent isn't only to support research which will improve cardiovascular care in New Zealand, but also improve care globally. These included a vaccine that could potentially prevent rheumatic fever in New Zealand, a kaupapa Māori nutrition research project for cardiovascular health, and the ongoing development and assessment of chest-pain pathways in rural communities.

This year’s funding included 14 fellowships and scholarships, 10 project grants, 7 small project grants, five travel grants, and two ‘grant-inaid’ grants. Five summer studentships were also awarded to the Medical Schools at the University of Auckland and the University of Otago.

We have a long and proud record of research investment, which has improved our heart-health and contributed massively to the improvement in mortality rates over several decades. But there is no room for complacency as we face new challenges. Heart disease is still the single biggest killer in New Zealand and many of these deaths are premature and preventable. That’s why research remains so important.

This work is only possible with the generous support of our donors and volunteers – thank you. We are making a difference, and together we can keep leading the fight against heart disease.

Gerry Devlin
Medical Director

The differences you have made this year

Here are just a few of the highlights from our year, that you've helped us achieve.

people living with heart disease were supported

by local Heart Foundation teams nationwide.

tonnes of salt removed from targeted processed food products

per annum through the Heart Foundation’s reformulation work with the food industry.

million of funding invested into research grants

and specialist training for cardiologists in 2018/2019.

research and training grants awarded this year

totalling 1,790 since 1968.

Jacelyn and family

Life-saving research

Heart Foundation Fellow, Dr Jacelyn Loh, loves making new discoveries with her research.

She’s breaking new ground to protect New Zealand’s most at-risk children, by working to develop a Rheumatic Fever vaccine. 

Prevention of Rheumatic Fever is a national health priority in New Zealand where rates are much higher than other developed countries, particularly in Māori and Pacific children.

"Our health is something we all greatly value. To work in this research field to find ways to improve human health has great meaning for me and gives me a sense of real purpose."

More on Jacelyn's work


Making families healthier with nutrition courses.

Auckland’s early learning service cooks are discovering new ways of cooking up nutritious, heart-healthy meals for under-fives. It’s all thanks to a specialised Community Nutrition Course run by the Heart Foundation’s Education and Pacific Heartbeat teams.

Since 2015, many courses have been held for early learning service cooks and other staff who help with food preparation.

The Community Nutrition Course for early learning service cooks is proving very popular, often being booked out within a day of registrations opening.

View nutrition courses
Children exercising at early learning centre

Volunteer street collector out collecting during our big heart appeal


Big-hearted life changers.

The Heart Foundation's Big Heart Appeal in February raised funds for lifesaving heart research and specialist cardiac training, that will help address the country's heart health, both now and in the future.

We are very thankful to all those who gave donations to the Big Heart Appeal and to the thousands of volunteers who gifted their time and commitment to collect in places throughout the country. We couldn't do it without you

Volunteer in the Big Heart Appeal

Long-time life changer

Long-time Lottery supporter, Sue Bielby, has been supporting the Heart Foundation since 1997.

The Auckland GP started buying tickets when she was at medical school and says she is always so impressed with the quality of the organisation and the research it supported.

"The research the Heart Foundation does makes such a real and meaningful difference to people’s lives, it reaches so many people."

Proceeds from the Heart Foundation Lottery funds life-saving research and we couldn’t do this without the generous support of people like Sue.

It allows us to fund cutting-edge research and specialist training for cardiologists, while our education and prevention programmes address heart disease head-on in the community.

Learn about our Lottery
Sue Bielby

Peter on his bike

Care and support

Cycling at the heart of a world record.

What started as the road to recovery after a heart attack and bypass surgery, became a journey that took Peter to the New Zealand cycling championships.

Peter was a fit and active 78-year-old, working on his Invercargill deer farm, cycling and running often. So when he had a heart attack it was a complete surprise.

"It was quite sudden. I'd just come inside after drilling a post hole out in the paddock. I was relaxing sitting in the chair and my daughter comes in and says, 'Dad you don't look very well.' And I stood up and I collapsed – just like that. That was my heart attack."

A few months later Peter had triple bypass surgery. He approached his recovery with determination, but even so, he was nervous when starting to exercise again.

As his recovery progressed, Peter decided to get back on his bike, and he soon started competing in cycling events. He has gone on to win numerous gold medals at New Zealand championships.

Read Peter's story

Thousands of volunteers give their time and energy to support the Heart Foundation every year. Whether it’s organising support groups, helping the community with nutrition advice, becoming a Heart Racer or holding a bucket for our Big Heart Appeal, every bit helps us help Kiwis to live heart healthy lives.

Certificate of Appreciation

  • Jessie Daba
  • Caution Dalley
  • Chelsea Kah
  • Eric Tannion
  • Sin Sin Ooi
  • Trijal Pednekar
  • Rowenna Bonne
  • Cheron Fourie
  • Jessie Daba
  • Jess Malaulau
  • Ruiwen Kang
  • Kim Khairul Anuar
  • Sohye Park
  • Yuwanti Rili
  • Respatyanti
  • Chongling Tang
  • Kerby Lacaden
  • Yang Dai
  • Deanna Ayupova
  • Trijal Pednekar
  • Yun Yi Kok
  • Gayan Edirisinghe
  • Pathiranage
  • Joy Zhang
  • Ningyi Yang
  • Hemraj Hansdah
  • Jean Putt
  • Jiayong Shen

Long Service

  • Mary Barbour - Hamilton Branch - 20 years
  • Robert Goeldner - Hamilton Branch - 10 years
  • Jenny Potter – Hamilton Branch - 10 Years
  • Margaret Weldon - Nelson Branch - 10 Years
  • Jo Bell - Nelson Branch - 2 years
  • Keith Broady - Nelson Branch - 2 years
  • Sandy Clegg - Wairarapa Branch - 2 years
  • Judith Hutton - Nelson Branch - 2 years
  • Janet Kelly - Nelson Branch - 2 years
  • Janet Knapp - Nelson Branch - 2 years
  • Stewart Mann - Nelson Branch - 2 years
  • Trish Morison - Wairarapa Branch - 2 years
  • Erik Pedersen - Wairarapa Branch - 2 years
  • Rick Reynolds - Wairarapa Branch - 2 years
  • Carolyn Weir - Nelson Branch - 2 years
  • Murray Weir - Nelson Branch - 2 years
  • Abbe West - Nelson Branch - 2 years
  • Donna Watt - Wairarapa Branch - 2 years

Our heartfelt thanks to the individuals, trusts and organisations, many of which are listed here, who have helped the Heart Foundation achieve its objectives during the year.

Thank you also to our like-minded strategic partners who collaborate with us to deliver our work. We are grateful that you share our vision and purpose in helping New Zealanders impacted by heart disease.

The ongoing dedication and commitment shown by the following supporters has been integral in the Heart Foundation’s achieved outcomes.

  • Aileen Drewitt Charitable Trust
  • Allen Pidwell
  • Caiger Charitable Trust
  • Cert - Your Local Gaming Trust Ltd
  • Community Organisation Grants Scheme
  • Community Trust of Southland
  • David and Helen Hoskin
  • Dorothy Cutts
  • E & W White-Parsons Charitable Trust
  • Eastern & Central Community Trust
  • Estate of Ernest Hyam Davis & The
  • Ted and Mollie Carr Endowment Trust
  • Estate of Grace E M Kay - Orakau Heart Research Scholarship Trust
  • Farina Thompson Charitable Trust
  • Foundation North
  • Frederick James Brunskill Estate
  • Grace Craston Charitable Trust
  • Hynds Foundation
  • Ian Shroff
  • Jack Jeffs Charitable Trust
  • James Gillespie McMahon Memorial Trust
  • Jennifer Smith Family Trust
  • John Ormiston
  • John Pescini
  • Jones Foundation
  • Lawrance and Stephanie Russell Charitable Trust
  • Lois McFarlane Charitable Trust
  • Lyndsay Noble
  • Michael and Betsy Benjamin
  • Milestone Foundation
  • Milton Hope
  • Mt Wellington Foundation Ltd
  • New Zealand Community Post
  • New Zealand Community Trust
  • New Zealand Ship and Marine Society Incorporated
  • Nova Charitable Trust
  • Oxford Sports Trust
  • P H Vickery Charitable Trust
  • ProCare Charitable Foundation
  • Quality Hotel Parnell Limited
  • Ray Watts Charitable Trust
  • Remuera Bowling Club
  • Room-Simmonds Charitable Trust
  • Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust
  • Southland Medical Foundation
  • Stewart Family Charitable Trust
  • The Kelliher Charitable Trust
  • The Owen and John Whitfield No 2 Fund Charitable Trust
  • The Reed Charitable Trust
  • The Robert and Barbara Stewart Charitable Trust
  • The William Noel Pharazyn Charitable Trust
  • The Winton & Margaret Bear (Charitable) Trust’s Children’s Heart Health Care Trust
  • Trust House Charitable Trust
  • Trust Waikato