Creating age friendly communities

An age friendly community is a place where you can stay connected, healthy, active and respected – whatever your age.

Age friendly communities

The World Health Organization started the global Age-Friendly Cities Project in 2006. There are now many countries taking part with hundreds of cities and communities involved.

An age friendly community:

  • respects the rights of older people
  • celebrates older people – including their capacities, resources, lifestyles and preferences
  • responds to the growing diversity of older people, for example disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, and religion or beliefs
  • values older people and makes it easier for everyone to participate in community life
  • connects people across all ages.

This helps older people to:

  • stay connected with each other
  • stay active and healthy
  • live with dignity and enjoyment
  • feel that they are treated with respect.

Age-friendly world – World Health Organization

Age friendly Aotearoa New Zealand

By 2034, more than one in five New Zealanders will be 65 or over – approximately 1.2 million people.

In 2018 New Zealand was accepted as an affiliate member of the WHO Global Network of Age-friendly Cities and Communities. Hamilton, New Plymouth, Auckland, Nelson and Gore are members of the global network and several other New Zealand communities are looking at joining.

As an affiliate we report progress on age friendly initiatives every year. You can see our latest report and summary on our New Zealand page on the WHO Global Network of Age friendly Cities and Communities website. 

To facilitate exchange of information and resources about age friendly within New Zealand, representatives from age friendly groups are invited to join the Age friendly Aotearoa New Zealand Network. This Network has grown from 15 in 2022 to 29 as at July 2023 covering 29 cities and districts. Read more about joining our Age friendly Network.

Creating an age friendly community

Based on the WHO’s Age friendly framework, areas that communities can focus on to become more age friendly include:

  • outdoor spaces and buildings
  • transportation
  • housing
  • social participation
  • respect and social inclusion
  • civic participation and employment
  • communication and information
  • community support and health services.

The process should be a partnership between older people, services, NGOs, and the local council.


  • it is important to get people involved throughout the community
  • start by looking at what your community has already begun, or achieved, and build on that
  • it’s important to get buy-in and support from community leaders, not just officials.

How we can help

We provide advice, resources and support, including a small grants programme, to help create age friendly communities in New Zealand.

We have an Age friendly toolkit to help take you through the steps to developing an age friendly plan for your community.

We run an annual Age friendly Fund grants programme to help provide funding for developing an age friendly plan, doing a needs assessment or setting up a new project to enable ideas to be tested or piloted.

Age friendly resources


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