Victoria Hawkins |

Is your local marae, sports team or social club confident in doing CPR and using an AED to save the life of someone in cardiac arrest?

As part of an effort to reduce New Zealand’s cardiac arrest toll, St John ambulance officers and tutors are volunteering their time to deliver a free 3 Steps for Life community education programme to the public.

“More than 1,200 people die every year in New Zealand after suffering a cardiac arrest. New Zealand’s cardiac arrest toll is four times the national road toll and yet it remains a silent disease in terms of public awareness,” says St John Medical Director Tony Smith. 

3 Steps for Life is designed to give all New Zealanders the confidence and awareness to take action when somebody suffers a cardiac arrest by 1) Calling 111; 2) StartingCPR; and 3) Using an AED (automated external defibrillator). 

St John’s last Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest (OHCA) Report(2014/15) revealed that 64% of cardiac arrests occur at home and 19% happen in public so it’s vital that family members and bystanders take action.

Applying CPR and rapid defibrillation can increase a patient’s chances of survival by up to 40%.  But for every minute without CPR or defibrillation, a patient’s chance of survival falls by 10-15%.

St John’s OHCA Report also revealed Māori are disproportionally affected with a 40% higher chance of suffering a cardiac arrest than all other ethnic groups.

As a result St John has developed a ‘Marae Cardiac Arrest programme’ using the 3 Steps for Life formula.

St John Pou Takawaenga (Māori liaison officers) are working with Māori communities and have engaged 30 marae around New Zealand to support training in CPR and access to defibrillators.

“St John is committed to enhancing Maori community health outcomes through our Te Ara Hato Hone strategy, just as building community resilience is an essential goal,” says St John Director of Community Health Services, Sarah Manley. 

St John aims to deliver the free hour-long 3 Steps programme to at least 5,000 people over the next year so if your rugby, netball or hockey team, church group, local marae or any other community groups are keen, please go to the St John website 3 Steps for Life enquiry page to make a booking.

We know these three easy but vital steps can be the difference between a life lost and a life saved.





Victoria Hawkins

St John Media & Public Relations Manager

T 09 526 0528 I X 7877 I F 09 526 0553 | M 021 605 342



Note to Editors:

  • Please note, 3 Steps for Life does not meet New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) requirements for a workplace first aid course. There is no certificate of qualification.
  • If people require certified training or wish to learn more first aid skills, we recommend going to the St John website and enrolling in a first aid course.
  • The recommended group size for a 3 Steps session is 10 to 20 participants.
    Greater numbers can be catered for in one session but it is strongly recommended that additional facilitators are available for larger groups.
  • Anyone is eligible and can attend a 3 Steps for Life awareness session.
  • St John strongly supports public access to AEDs. For more information visit the St John website. To find the nearest public defibrillator available we recommend the AED Locations website & App.
  • St John is the largest primary healthcare provider in New Zealand; we provide emergency ambulance services to nearly 90% of New Zealanders in 97% of the country’s geographical area.
  • St John is a registered charity made up of a mix of full-time paid employees and volunteer staff.
  • Our community and commercial programmes range from first aid training, health shuttle services, Friends of the Emergency Department, Caring Caller telephone service, monitored medical alarms, Outreach Therapy Pets and a St John Youth Programme.
  • Last year St John cared for over 428,000 patients and responded to 455,000 111 emergency calls for help.
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