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South Island Gut Health Hubs

How the Gut Foundation uses their Gut Health Hubs to work with local communities to improve gut health outcomes for New Zealanders.

Foodstuffs (South Island) Community Trust provide funding to support The Gut Foundation and the South Island Gut Health Hubs.

The Gut Health Hub concept is not new. It has been a reality for 25 years here in Canterbury. It came about when the local community raised funds for Tom George, (a well-known Canterbury sports administrator) who needed a liver transplant. In 1992 this meant a trip to Australia. After Tom’s successful transplant he returned to Christchurch determined to help those who had helped save his life. He believed that that given the right financial support, our medical professionals could provide Cantabrians with the best gut health care and through high quality research further improve gut health. 

The Christchurch Liver and Digestive Diseases Trust was established, and held its inaugural meeting, on November 15, 1993. It is no surprise that Walter Hadlee (NZ Cricketer) and Tiny (Stan) Hill (NZ All Black) were among the inaugural trustees. In August 2007, the Trust was renamed The Bowel and Liver Trust and in 2018 became the Gut foundation. However, over the last 25 years their mission has remained the same, “To improve Gut Health outcomes for people."

The Gut Foundation has raised over $1.3 million to support research, buy equipment for the CDHB and educate people.

Provision of specialist endoscopy equipment which was not available in Christchurch previously is a classic example of how the Gut Health Hubs in your area can provide better outcomes for local people. An important element of the success of the Christchurch Gut Health Hub has been the collaboration between the community and medical professionals. It has allowed the Trust to understand where the needs are and prioritise the projects that need more funding.

This year Foodstuffs South Island Community Trust has provided a grant to the Gut Foundation for three years to engage with and support other regions to establish their own Gut Health Hubs.

The Gut Foundation plan to work with communities throughout the South Island to develop their own Gut Health Hubs. Funds raised in each region can go towards local endeavours such as equipment to improve health services in their region, health promotion to encourage the community to understand more about their own gut health and research that will improve local gut health.  Our experience and seed funding could enable efficiencies such as tools to share ideas and promote collaboration between the community and gut health researchers locally and nationally. This is a new initiative that looks to take a community owned and driven approach to create better gut health outcomes in our various South Island communities.

Find out more information about the Gut Foundations' latest research, gut health and how you can support them at