UCAN Make a Difference

In New Zealand there are 20 district health boards (DHBs), with local elections every 3 years. The United Community Action Network (UCAN) and the Public Health Association of New Zealand (PHA) partnered together to raise the public's and the candidates' awareness during 2019 elections, of the social determinants causing inequity in health outcomes for New Zealanders.
A series of short explainer-videos were created for sharing through social media during the election build-up period (eg see trailor), to promote public "meet the candidates" events we hosted, where we facilitated debate on the points of UCAN's Health Charter. Post-election, this longer film (above) was produced to send to the elected DHB members.
Our theory of change centred on spotlighting an issue (health equity) for public debate, in the hope of ensuring more informed choices by voters, so that they would elect DHB candidates who had the greatest understanding and commitment to this issue. By shifting the frame of debate with our Charter's human rights focus, we were able to attract audience, then raise awareness of the policy solutions to health inequity put forward by candidates, enabling more informed choice amongst the voting public.
Post-election, our theory of change centres on maintaining supportive relationships with elected DHB members that promised their commitment to our Health Charter during their campaigns.

Our entire project was achieved through volunteer contributions from our wider network including Child Poverty Action Group, the Equality Network and members of UCAN and PHA. A special thank you to Bus Tunnel Studios for contributing film equipment and editing facilities for free.

  • Deb Leyland
  • Professor Don Matheson
  • Deb Leyland
  • Mark Hayes
  • Professor Don Matheson
    Key Cast
  • Dr Prudence Stone
    Key Cast
  • Nita Brown
    Key Cast
  • Ramil Adhikari
    Key Cast
  • Dr Jude Ball
    Key Cast
  • Kaisa Beech
    Key Cast
  • Lisa Woods
    Key Cast
  • Stacy Ryan
    Key Cast
  • The Brass Razoo Solidarity Band
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    7 minutes 35 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    November 1, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    0 NZD
  • Country of Origin:
    New Zealand
  • Country of Filming:
    New Zealand
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Deb Leyland

Deb is a founding member of United Community Action Network. She lives on an "invalid" benefit and works full-time as a volunteer advocate for the rights of people living in poverty like herself. Like too many in New Zealand, she suffered childhood abuse and trauma. The experience left her homeless for many years in youth and young adulthood. She suffers post-traumatic stress disorder and has spent her adult life dependent on prescription drugs that also keep her in poverty. Despite these social and economic barriers, Deb has fostered a community network among those she meets who suffer hardship as she does. UCAN's network of members is in the hundreds and its Health Charter has won the stakeholder support of dozens of Human Rights organisations and advocates in New Zealand.
Deb is a proud mother and grandmother, living in Lyall Bay Wellington with her pet rabbit Hoppy.

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Director Statement

"I believe everyone has a right to health. That right is taken away from some because of the way our system works. I live in poverty and so do too many New Zealanders. It's poverty that drives our poor health outcomes. So we have to unite and tell our story to the people running the system, to convince them it's broken and needs to change. That's how UCAN makes a difference."