Amy Milne |

Hato Hone St John (HHSJ) Event Health Services (EHS) and Wellington Free Ambulance (WFA) will be on the world stage as they step forward to provide industry-leading event health services to the New Zealand leg of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 (FWWC2023).  

Aotearoa New Zealand is co-hosting the FWWC2023 with Australia, which kicks off today (Thursday, 20 July 2023) and runs through to Sunday, 20 August 2023. The tournament will host 32 teams playing across 64 tournament games and has an expected international audience of more than 1.12 billion across 205 countries. 

As excitement builds across the motu for the largest women’s sporting event in the world and New Zealand’s history, HHSJ Event Health Services National Operations Manager Natalie Lang says seeing everything finally coming together is “incredibly rewarding”. 

Ms Lang says FWWC2023 awarded HHSJ the contract to provide bespoke event health services to the FIFA Play-Off Tournament and the NZL leg of the main tournament. The nearly two years of meticulous planning and coordination behind the scenes has been a major undertaking and involves more than 260 HHSJ staff. 

“FWWC2023 is the largest contract EHS has ever undertaken in terms of the coordination of resource required for both match days and training sessions, coupled with the duration of the tournament itself.  

“It’s hard to believe it’s here but I am so ready, excited, and proud of the work Event Health Services has done to get us here. 

“We are excited to deliver the FWWC2023 tournament to the world stage. All the mahi building up to now has been our committed focus since 2021; we’re more than ready to go ‘Beyond Greatness’.”  

Ms Lang says to give some context to the significant scale of this event, EHS is expecting to deliver 12,000 clinical hours over the course of the four week tournament - compared to 880 hours for the same period in 2022. 

“For the 2011 Rugby World Cup in NZ we averaged 18 staff per match; for FIFA we’re looking at around 26 staff per match. So, it’s huge and we’re super excited about everything officially kicking off today,” Ms Lang says. 

HHSJ EHS will be supporting 29 matches, plus four validation test matches that are being held in New Zealand across the four major host cities – Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, and Dunedin. In addition to the tournament activity, HHSJ will have a presence at four fan zones in Auckland and Wellington. 

Ms Lang says the size of this event has meant that EHS needed to coordinate a huge amount of logistics and resource, which has involved some new, innovative, and collaborative ways of working. 

“Due to the extensive requirements of an event of this size and to acknowledge Wellington Free Ambulance (WFA) as the ambulance service for Greater Wellington and Wairarapa, we’ve partnered with our colleagues in the capital city to jointly provide coverage at all Wellington based matches.  In addition to the match day medical services, Wellington Free Ambulance will be supporting the regional training requirements of teams throughout the tournament,” she says. 

“We will be working in partnership with WFA and we’re hoping we can use this model to apply to future major events, which is exciting.” 

HHSJ EHS have also engaged Registered Nurses (RNs) as part of FIFA contractual requirements.  

“The RNs will work alongside HHSJ, WFA and the FIFA doctors, which brings the total number of clinicians required to cover each match to around 29, including three FIFA doctors and two Registered Nurses.”  

Ms Lang says HHSJ is excited to get behind FIFA and encourages any fans attending trainings, fan zones and matches to share their photos with us by tagging HHSJ on Facebook (@StJohnNewZealand), Instagram (@stjohnnz) or Twitter (@StJohnNZ). 

“And good luck to all our Event Health Services teams involved in FWWC2023. Thank you for your commitment to the tournament - whether it be a training session, a match or an extended period of time away in a host city,” Ms Lang says.  



  • Hato Hone St John provides emergency ambulance services to 90 percent of New Zealanders and covers 97 percent of the country’s geographical area. 
  • Hato Hone St John is made up of a mix of full-time paid employees and volunteer staff.
  • Hato Hone St John has contracts with Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand and ACC who fund approximately 90 percent of the operating costs for the ambulance service. The balance on what is required to run the service is made up from ambulance part charges, third-party contracts, and fundraising.
  • Along with the emergency ambulance service, Hato Hone St John provides a significant number of community health programmes and initiatives which help build community resilience. They include Health Shuttles, Caring Caller, Friends of the Emergency Department, St John Youth, ASB St John in Schools, and Therapy Pets.
  • Hato Hone St John also delivers event health services, medical alarm services, first aid training and operates retail stores across the country. 


  • Wellington Free Ambulance is the only emergency ambulance service for Greater Wellington and Wairarapa. They provide all services free of charge and operate 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.  
  • As well as providing emergency ambulance services (52,000 incidents annually) Wellington Free also provides a Patient Transfer Service (46,000 transfers annually), has a specially trained Rescue Squad, and provides paramedic expertise on the regional rescue helicopter.   
  • The Clinical Communications Centre at Wellington Free Ambulance in Thorndon is one of three in New Zealand, answering emergency 111 calls, on average 245,000 calls annually.   
  • Wellington Free Ambulance Event Medics provide medical support at events across the region including sporting events, concerts, and festivals.   
  • Thanks to cornerstone partner Julie Nevett and The Lloyd Morrison Foundation Wellington Free Ambulance provides vital life-saving CPR training across schools, businesses, and community groups free of charge. Each year training around 3000 people aged five through to 95.  


For Hato Hone St John  

Email: amy.milne@stjohn.org.nz | Ph 027 502 7523

Or for Wellington Free Ambulance  

Email: media@wfa.org.nz or phone 021 384 571  

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