Spotlight On: NZSHS Conference 2015 “Hidden Depths”


NZSHS Conference NZSHS Conference
This year’s annual sexual health conference was held in Taupo 15-17 October. The conference was structured around the 2014 World Health Organisation position paper “Sexual and Reproductive Health beyond 2015: Equality, Quality of Care and Accountability”.

We hope that the conference fulfilled this brief, with many of the more than 30 speakers framing their presentations around the key themes. As always for conference organisers, it was a challenge to offer presentations of interest to a wide range of delegates across a variety of disciplines, but feedback has been very positive. We are delighted that final delegate numbers were 177, the venue a success, and we know that a good deal of networking was done over the 2 days of conference, and at the PASHANZ hui the day prior.



Sue Bagshaw and friends

Highlights for us (and there were many) included:

  • Dame Margaret Sparrow’s opening speech, with the launch of Jane Tollerton’s book “Ettie Rout: NZ’s safer sex pioneer”. Dame Margaret is always an inspiration.
  • Riripeti Haretuku and Alison Green’s presentations were another wakeup call that we need to be more inclusive of a Maori knowledge based approach to sexual and reproductive health care, and need wider multi-cultural awareness if we are to achieve true health equity. This theme was re-iterated in other presentations.
  • The Village Collective always impress and enthral – their insight and passion brought tears to the eye, as did the presentation by Te Rakei Whakaehu, winners of one of this year’s conference awards.
  • Dr Sue Bagshaw is another inspirational presenter and leader in the field of youth health, and our thanks also go to our local young people, Crosby and Grace, for joining Sue.
  • Christine Foley gave a great update on sexual assault care, and presented the challenge for us all to learn more about what is available in our localities, and to continue advocating for improved service access.
  • We would like to thank all our speakers for their time, wisdom and passion for their work, and thank you to everyone who attended. You all contributed to another successful conference, and we will be looking forward to the 2016 conference in Wellington.

Conference Presentations and Video

The next article contains links to the videos and PDFs of the conference presentations. Also check out the NZSHS website for more information.

Debbie Hughes and Shaz Iseli
On behalf of the 2015 conference organising committee