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Improving indoor air quality (University of Otago Public Health Summer School)

  • Otago University of Wellington 23 Mein Street Wellington, Wellington, 6021 New Zealand (map)

Te whakahauora i te kōhau rōwhare

Are you interested in knowing what air quality issues New Zealand faces, especially how air quality relates to the health and comfort of people? Would you like to know how we can minimise our exposures to poor air quality?

This seminar-style course provides an essential introduction to what is air pollution and what issues are unique to New Zealand. This course will explore how air pollution affects the health and wellbeing of people and what factors we can change to reduce the numbers of hospital admissions and deaths due to air pollution.

Topics covered  

  1. What is indoor air quality and what are issues are unique to New Zealand?
  2. How does indoor air quality affect the health of people?
  3. What can be done to improve indoor air quality?
  4. How can building design improve indoor air quality?

Style of course

Symposium - Multi-speaker presentations in lecture theatre setting.

Who should attend?  

This course is suitable for people studying or working in policy, building design and health.

Draft Timetable






Session 1: What is indoor air quality and NZ issues

o    Indoor air quality issues in New Zealand - Dr. Guy Coulson

o    Indoor air pollution in NZ homes and garages - Dr. Bill Trompetter

o    Woodsmoke: What are we burning? Indoor air quality implications  -Dr. Perry Davy

o    Indoor air quality in schools - Dr. Mikael Boulic

o    Questions


Morning tea


Session 2: How does the indoor environment affect people's health?

o    Damp, mouldy homes and asthma - Dr. Caroline Shorter

o    Home heating and health - Dr. Julie Bennett

o    Indoor air quality in homes - WHO guidelines? - Philippa Howden-Chapman (TBC)

o    Chemical Air Quality - off-gassing of solvents from glues, paints furniture - Dr. Teri-Ann Berry and German Hernandez

o    Questions


Lunch break


Session 3: What can we do to improve air quality?

o    Managing indoor air quality – community engagement - Dr. Guy Coulson

o    Schools - Dr. Julie Bennett

o    Indoor Air Quality Guidelines in Schools (Ministry of Education) - Speaker (TBC)

o    Developing an IAQ metric and the problem of how to achieve good IAQ - Manfred Plagmann

o    Questions


Afternoon tea


Session 4: How can buildings protect us?

Designing for risk minimisation - Prof. Robyn Phipps
Systems design and strategies - Patrick Arnold
Adequacy of ventilation openings in schools, homes and offices - Michael Donn


Finish - Drinks and nibbles

Teaching staff  

  • Dr. Guy Coulson, Air Quality Scientist, NIWA
  • Dr. Bill Trompetter, Ion Beam Analysis/Air Quality Scientist, GNS Science
  • Dr. Perry Davy, Air Quality Scientist, GNS Science
  • Dr. Mikael Boulic, Senior Lecturer, School of Engineering and Advanced Technology, Massey University, Auckland
  •  Dr. Caroline Shorter, Research Fellow, Wellington Asthma Research Group, University of Otago, Wellington
  • Dr. Julie Bennett, Research Fellow, He Kainga Oranga/Housing and Health Research Group, University of Otago, Wellington
  • Professor Philippa Howden-Chapman, Programme Director of He Kainga Oranga/Housing and Health Research Programme; Director, New Zealand Centre for Sustainable Cities; lead researcher for the Resilient Urban Futures programme. University of Otago, Wellington.
  • Dr. Teri-Ann Berry, Senior Lecturer, Engineering, Unitec, Auckland
  • Manfred Plagmann, Senior Physicist, Building Research Association of NZ (BRANZ)
  • Prof. Robyn Phipps, Professor in Construction, School of Engineering and Advanced Technology. Massey University, Auckland.
  • Patrick Arnold, Director, eCubed
  • A. Professor Michael Donn - Building Environments School of Architecture, Victoria University

Course cost and registration


A 50% discount is available to full-time students, those unwaged and University of Otago staff.

Māori and Pacific scholarships

Scholarships for course attendance are available to Māori and Pacific people studying or working in Māori or Pacific health. A scholarship will enable the recipient to attend a one-day course of their choosing. Please note that the number of scholarships provided is limited so get in quickly to be eligible.

To apply, you need to fill in the registration form found on the registration portal. Once you have selected your ethnicity and that you wish to apply for a scholarship, the following will come up to be completed.

  • Please explain your work in the public health sector.
  • Please list the reason(s) why the cost of registration may prevent you from attending this Summer School course
  • Please tell us how attendance at this Summer School course will help you in your professional development
  • Please tell us about your commitment to Hauora Māori or Pacific Health

If you have any queries please email