Skip to main content

View our Annual Impact Report

View our annual impact report

Mike Tomlinson

It was a challenging year as we continued to make progress on our strategic plan while operating within a health sector under pressure and cost-of-living challenges widely impacting New Zealanders.

Thanks to the incredible generosity of our donors, supporters, partners, and volunteers, we were able to continue delivering impactful programmes and services to improve the heart health of New Zealanders.

The size and scale of the New Zealand health reforms saw new structures introduced and lots of change within the broader health sector. Despite this, we were able to gain certainty of funding for the continuation of several education and support programmes.

Investing in heart research is a cornerstone of our work and we were proud to commit more than $4.4 million of funding for research including project grants and overseas training fellowships for cardiologists.

Clive Nelson

Investment in research is vital to the advancement of early detection and treatment of heart disease and improving the quality of life for people living with heart disease.

We were delighted to welcome and host Her Excellency The Right Honourable Dame Cindy Kiro, Governor-General of New Zealand, as our patron during the year. In her remarks to guests at a welcome reception, Dame Cindy acknowledged board member Professor Sir Jim Mann and Chief Advisor Pacific Dr Sir Collin Tukuitonga, both of whom Dame Cindy bestowed knighthoods on at investitures earlier in the year.

New Zealand’s communities reopened after the pandemic response settings were largely removed and our teams were able to introduce new initiatives focused on people staying well with heart failure, and on participation at large public events.

We prepared an updated white paper for publication in July 2023 titled Healthy hearts, healthy nation. The paper proposes a national heart health action plan that has high-level goals to reduce the rate of avoidable heart disease mortality and morbidity for all New Zealanders by at least 50%. 

Heart disease and stroke is the leading cause of death in New Zealand and there is no excuse not to deliver a national heart health action plan and we urge health policymakers to put it on the agenda.

In 2022, a review of our constitution got underway to make sure it reflects our current state, represents the standards of good governance and provides assurance that our organisation be fit for purpose. An updated constitution will be proposed at the next Annual General Meeting for approval.

Thank you to all members of the Board and Board sub-committees, Scientific Advisory Group and Investment Committee who generously give their time and professional expertise to our organisation.  

Special thanks to all the kind-hearted people and organisations who fundraise, donate, campaign and support our purpose. It’s through your generosity that we can achieve all that we do.

While there are challenging times ahead, with strong financial stewardship and governance in place and with your unwavering support, our teams can continue to impact lives, every day.

Mike Tomlinson, Chairman and Clive Nelson, Chief Executive

Gerry Devlin

Advances in risk prediction and the early recognition of symptoms now allow for early diagnosis, treatment and better management for people living with heart disease.

The incredible generosity of our supporters allows us to make a positive impact, enabling researchers, innovators, doctors and nurses to keep finding ways to improve heart health outcomes for New Zealanders.

This year we were pleased to award $4.4 million to fund heart research and overseas training for cardiologists, taking the total awarded since our formation to more than $86 million. The recipients included researchers working on projects ranging from early-stage science and prevention measures to treatment for heart failure patients.

While many Heart Foundation-funded projects can take longer to influence medical practice, it is vitally important that we invest across the full spectrum, from discovery science and prevention to treatment and cure.

Thanks to the generosity of visionary supporters, some of the projects we are funding are ambitious. It’s by exploring new ideas and innovative ways of doing things that we will continue to create healthier futures for all New Zealanders living in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Dr Gerry Devlin, Heart Foundation 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.

of funding invested into research grants
preschoolers reached through our education programmes
heart health resources distributed
My Heart Check assessments completed

Stand Strong

This image depicts Mereana Hona (Maori woman) standing in front of a Po. She stands with her arms folded across her chest.

A simple check of heart strength can save a life. This was a clear message of the Stand Strong campaign introduced in March 2023.

Heart disease can impact anyone, but Māori, Pasifika and South Asian people are impacted by heart disease at an earlier age, on average around 10 years younger than their European counterparts. Stand Strong messages highlighted that checking heart strength is easy and early identification and management of risk factors can reduce the risk of having a heart event or condition in future.

Having a conversation with whānau about any family history of heart disease is also important to understanding your risk factors.

“When heart disease strikes, it doesn’t break just one heart. It breaks many. Your whānau, your friends and your community need you to take care of your heart,” says Kataraina Davis, Chief Advisor Māori, Heart Foundation.

She says checking your heart strength is easy and can reduce your risk of having a heart event or condition in future.

People were encouraged to use My Heart Check, a free online heart health check that uses personal risk factors to assess heart age and provides tips on how you can reduce your risk of heart disease.

Stand Strong, supported by Te Whatu Ora, resonated with Māori, Pasifika and South Asian audiences, encouraging and empowering them to make positive lifestyle changes and take control of their heart health.

Our teams helped spread Stand Strong messages at several large-scale public events including Te Matatini and Pasifika festivals in Auckland. Heart Foundation staff partnered with primary health organisations, iwi, churches, temples, sports clubs and workplaces to engage people in conversations about their heart health.  

Two decades of healthy choices for children

In 2022, the Heart Foundation celebrated 20 years of our Tohu Manawa Ora | Healthy Heart Award programme helping early learning services create an environment that encourages healthy eating and physical activity, which in turn helps children develop healthy habits for life.  

“We’re able to positively influence the knowledge, approaches and practices of educators at early learning services, together with the parents and whānau of the children,” says Head of Prevention Justine Munro. 

Kew Pacific Island Learning Centre in Invercargill was one of the many early learning services involved in the 20th anniversary celebrations, with a special visit from Hearty. The centre has been involved in the Tohu Manawa Ora | Healthy Heart Award programme since 2005, making many positive changes along the way.

“As a centre, we have really enjoyed promoting healthy choices for food, nutrition and exercise for our tamariki and their whānau,” says centre manager Rebecca Fa’alologo-Robertson.

Home is where the heart is

Thanks to loyal supporters and ticket purchasers, the Heart Foundation Lottery is an iconic fundraising initiative. Every ticket purchased goes towards helping to save countless lives through the funding of heart health research. The Lottery also changed the lives of six lucky first-prize winners when we handed over the keys to their brand-new, fully furnished Jennian home. 

This year, Lottery No. 140 winners Henk and Marijke were delighted to win a first-prize home in seaside Mangawhai. It was while they were thinking about their next steps towards retirement that they received the phone call that would change their lives forever. 

“It was crazy,” laughs Marijke. “We were celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary and having breakfast together when Henk got the phone call and at first, he thought ‘This just can’t be true!’

The couple started buying Heart Foundation Lottery tickets several years ago, inspired by their own family history of heart disease.

“It really goes back to my brother dying from a heart attack at just seventeen,” Henk shares. “And then, my father also died from a heart attack when he was 61. I had always been very conscious of heart disease and the Heart Foundation is a cause that is dear to my heart.”

With their daughter living nearby in Auckland, Henk and Marijke made the decision to relocate to their brand-new Jennian home in Mangawhai.

“We’ve always lived in do-ups,” Marijke says. “So, it’s so nice to live in something new where Henk doesn’t have to do all the repairs.”

Head of Fundraising and Partnerships, Alison Wheatley-Mahon says that a legislative change has provided an opportunity for the Heart Foundation to promote its Lottery online to a wider audience and, as a result, new and younger supporters are buying tickets, all helping the heart health cause.

“The Heart Foundation is immensely grateful to our major sponsor Jennian Homes and their family of product partners for their unwavering support of our Lottery,” she says. “Together, we are changing lives for the better.”

Our heart-felt thanks to our supporters

Thank you to our kind-hearted supporters, including individuals, organisations and trusts who help make a difference to thousands of New Zealanders every day. Without your tremendous commitment to the cause, we wouldn’t be able to achieve the work we do in communities across the country. 

Together, we are creating heart-healthy futures.

  • A.H. Couch Trust
  • AIA NZ
  • Aotearoa Gaming Trust
  • Betsy and Michael Benjamin
  • Boehringer Ingelheim
  • Brandt Tractor Ltd
  • Calista Olson
  • Chris Nunn
  • Dorothy Cutts
  • E & W White-Parsons Charitable Trust
  • Estate of Peter Michael Macer
  • Estate of Robert Charles Ritchie
  • G.R. Winn Trust
  • Grace Craston Charitable Trust
  • Hilda Curtis Charitable Trust
  • Ho Yee Yip
  • Hutt Valley Heart Trust
  • Hynds Foundation
  • Hynds Pipe Systems
  • J B W McKenzie Trust
  • Jack Jeffs Charitable Trust
  • Jennian Homes
  • Jenny and Andrew Smith
  • Jill Couch
  • Malcolm Legget and Carrie Hobson
  • Marge and Doug Bassett
  • Mark Richards
  • Martin Stiles
  • Michael Black
  • Milestone Foundation Limited
  • My Food Bag
  • N H Taylor Charitable Trust
  • N R and J H Thomson Charitable Trust
  • Nanette White
  • New Zealand Community Trust
  • Nova Charitable Trust
  • One Foundation
  • Owen & John Whitfield Charitable Trust
  • Perpetual Guardian
  • Peter and Jan Ruygrok
  • Pub Charity Limited
  • R & A J Francis Charitable Trust
  • Richard Troughton
  • Robert Oates
  • Room-Simmonds Charitable Trust
  • Royston Health Trust
  • Ruth Bonita and Robert Beaglehole
  • The Dowdall Trust
  • The Lion Foundation
  • The Reed Charitable Trust
  • The Sisters of St Joseph of Cluny
  • The Trustees of the Ray Watts Charitable Trust
  • The Winton & Margaret Bear (Charitable) Trust’s
  • Children’s Heart Health Care Trust
  • Unichem and Life Pharmacy
  • W N Pharazyn Charitable Trust