Man garden

Developing the Strategy

Office for Senior Citizens.

The development of the New Zealand Positive Ageing Strategy encompassed the following tasks:

  • Developing a strategic framework for government policies and services through an agreed set of positive ageing principles;
  • Consulting with community and stakeholder groups to seek feedback on the principles and agreement on priority areas for government action;
  • Establishing goals for positive ageing according to the priority areas raised in consultations;
  • Undertaking a stocktake and assessment of existing government policies and services in terms of the positive ageing principles;
  • Compiling an inter-departmental action plan to work towards achieving the goals and addressing issues identified in the consultations and the policy stocktake exercise; and
  • Identifying mechanisms for regular monitoring, reporting and review of progress on the Strategy.

Positive Ageing Principles

The Advisory Council for Senior Citizens developed a draft set of statements to guide the development of policies and services across the public sector. The Advisory Council for Senior Citizens is a panel of community representatives that provides the Minister for Senior Citizens with independent advice on issues concerning the well-being of older people.

The Positive Ageing Principles state that:

Effective positive ageing policies will:

  1. Empower older people to make choices that enable them to live a satisfying life and lead a healthy lifestyle;
  2. Provide opportunities for older people to participate in and contribute to family, whānau and community;
  3. Reflect positive attitudes to older people;
  4. Recognise the diversity of older people and ageing as a normal part of the lifecycle;
  5. Affirm the values and strengthen the capabilities of older Māori and their whānau;
  6. Recognise the diversity and strengthen the capabilities of older Pacific people;
  7. Appreciate the diversity of cultural identity of older people living in New Zealand;
  8. Recognise the different issues facing men and women;
  9. Ensure older people, in both rural and urban areas, live with confidence in a secure environment and receive the services they need to do so; and
  10. Enable older people to take responsibility for their personal growth and development through changing circumstances.


Extensive consultation was undertaken with communities, with the non-government and the agedcare sectors, with local government, and with various advisory and expert groups. The purpose of the consultation was to seek feedback on the Positive Ageing Principles and to identify priority issues for action in the Positive Ageing Strategy.

Community consultation was undertaken through focus groups managed by the Senior Citizens Unit of the Ministry of Social Policy, Te Puni Kōkiri and the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs.

Working with Communities

The Senior Citizens Unit Volunteer Community Co-ordinators hosted focus group meetings in Northland, Whangārei, Auckland, Hamilton, Coromandel, Tauranga, Rotorua, New Plymouth, Hawkes Bay, Palmerston North, Whanganui, Wairarapa, Kapiti, Wellington, Nelson, Hokitika, Greymouth, Christchurch, Timaru, Dunedin and Invercargill. Specific focus groups for Māori were held in Hamilton, Whakatāne, Tauranga and Rotorua. A summary of the report from the community focus group meetings outlines the priority issues identified by over 600 participants.

In addition, Te Puni Kōkiri organised hui in Gisborne, Lower Hutt, Christchurch, and Invercargill and reports from these meetings identified issues of particular interest and concern to Māori.

The Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs and the Senior Citizens Unit jointly hosted a focus group with Pacific people in Christchurch, and gatherings for Pacific people in Auckland were arranged through the Pacific Older People's Auckland Network.

Age Concern New Zealand organised a forum for the non-government and aged-care sectors to contribute to the development of the Positive Ageing Strategy. Over 100 key opinion leaders from voluntary, business, health, education, and other non-government sectors participated in the forum.

It includes a list of thirteen points of action that were recommended by the forum as key components of a Positive Ageing Strategy.

Information about the development of the Positive Ageing Strategy and a questionnaire seeking input from local government was sent to all Mayors and local government Chief Executives. Responses to the questionnaire, combined with information gathered at a one-day seminar for local government, have also informed the development of the Strategy.

Feedback on Positive Ageing Principles

As part of the consultation process, participants were asked if they agreed with the Positive Ageing Principles and whether there was anything important that had been omitted. A wide range of comments was received from the various meetings, with comments expressing one particular view often being contradicted by another. Overall, however, there was general agreement with the Positive Ageing Principles.

The report from the non-government forum, organised by Age Concern New Zealand, suggests that the Positive Ageing Principles need to be "re-written as explicit and meaningful action statements", to provide a clear guide for action and a basis for measuring progress. These wishes for measurable actions have been addressed in the development of the Positive Ageing Strategy inter-departmental action plan.

Priority Areas for Action

Participants were also asked to identify priority areas for government action, in order to create a society in which people can age positively. Feedback from this request has been used to develop ten Positive Ageing Goals, with recommended actions to achieve these goals. Specific work items will be undertaken by government departments to work towards the goals, but their achievement also depends on the contributions of other sectors of society.