Restart a Heart

World Restart a Heart Day takes place every year on 16 October. It is an opportunity to spread awareness about saving lives.


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Restart a Heart Day 2020

Friday 16 October is World Restart a Heart Day. This year 192 countries are celebrating the 60th Year of CPR apart but together on social media.

In a socially distanced world we are joining with our colleagues around the globe promoting bystander CPR and the Kids Save Lives message on social media. If you are celebrating World Restart a Heart Day we would love to see it. 

We encourage you to post about how you are celebrating World Restart a Heart Day on social media; make sure to tag us @NZResusCouncil on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and use the hashtags #worldrestartaheart and #restartaheart. Feel free to email me any photos or videos you take in the month of October of your #WorldRestartaHeart activities.

In this campaign we would like to emphasise the message of William Kouwenhoven in 1960 'anyone, anywhere can initiate cardiac resuscitation procedures. All that is needed are two hands'. It only takes two hands to save a life.

Restart a Heart Day 2018 Recap

With World Restart a Heart Day behind us, we can look back proudly on New Zealand’s role in a global success.

Thousands of people took part in activities across the country, and many thousands more were reached in a coordinated information campaign by the organisations taking part.

Below are some of the highlights. As always, the important thing is that life saving skills were taught, and an empowering message was successfully promoted.

On the ground

St John ran events in Auckland, Gisborne, Whangarei, Timaru and Christchurch. These ranged from stalls at Auckland and Christchurch airports to teaching school kids in Gisborne (pictured below). In Gisborne alone they taught 200 children how to do CPR, using manikins pictured below.


They also ran a raffle to win a first aid kit at the school, which was won by the boy below.

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As well as giving travellers and airport staff a chance to practice chest compressions on a manikin, St John were lucky enough to get Hunt for the Wilderpeople’s Julian Dennison involved (pictured below).


Wellington Free Ambulance held a stall at the capital’s airport. They estimate 1570 were trained in CPR – 1000 at the airport, 450 students in two schools, 50 members of the public at Waikenae Fire Station (in cooperation with Fire and Emergency NZ), and 70 members of staff at the Ministry of Health. 

A short video of the airport event is available here. Wellington Free deserve particular congatulation for snaring the Minister of Health, David Clark (pictured below, in the suit). Good to know he’s refreshed his first aid training!

News Restart a Heart Day 2018 feature image 2

To the South in Nelson, Rosie Whitaker and Natalie Gallagher of Resus Nelson taught 320 kids and 60 adults, which Natalie described in an email to the NZRC as “a very tiring week but well worth it.”

She made the interesting point that while kids aren’t familiar these days with Stayin Alive by the Bee Gees, they are apparently more well versed in something called ‘The Baby Shark Song’, which follows the same beat. The Nelson school event is pictured below. 


Other events around the country included South Canterbury District Health Board learning hub advisor Megan Stark leading a team in Timaru that set up manikins outside Countdown supermarket, and AED Locations coordinator Gareth Jenkins leading a team at Auckland city hospital who trained an estimated 200 people in CPR on Thursday the 18th.

Council support

The NZRC encouraged all our instructors and health sector partners to take part in Restart a Heart Day. We issued three newsletters to our subscribers (in August, September and October) either mentioning or devoted to Restart a Heart, which received approximately 1500 unique opens.

We devoted a front page section of our website to the campaign, ensuring that anyone who visited for other reasons could encounter information and updates. We know of at least one person who stepped up to organise an event after encountering that section of the website by accident, while looking for something else!

On Facebook, the posts we made relating to RAHD reached 16,633 people, while on Twitter in the month leading up to October 16 we made almost 15,000 unique impressions on users (the two sites use slightly different analytics to track impact).

Members of the NZRC leadership took part in planning and strategy discussions relating to RAHD on an international level, representing the Pacific perspective at the European Resus Council’s conference. NZRC staff also took part in multiple international teleconferences leading up to the day, which helped us align our messaging with those of our international partners.

Our Wellington staff also went to support Wellington Free Ambulance's World Restart a Heart Day expo at the airport. Naturally they challenged us to a CPR showdown. In the subsequent ambulance race, testing who could do better chest compressions for two minutes, our office administrator Rachel won a decisive victory over Alastair, our communications advisor. Final score 97.02% to 84.85%, with indefinite bragging rights awarded to Rachel. The drubbing is pictured below.

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We developed joint content with our Australian Resus Council partners. A press release was issued simultaneously by both Council’s under the ANZCOR brand, with an accompanying graphic designed by NZRC staff. When posted on Facebook on the pages of both Councils, this was shared 160 times.

In the media

Media coverage was extensive this year, reaching some of New Zealand’s biggest news platforms. Below is a list of news reports that either mention Restart a Heart Day (and in some cases GoodSAM as well), or were based on press releases issued by member orgs as part of the campaign.

17 August 2018: Survival drive - general practice urged to get behind restart a heart day

5 October: National partnership to promote save a life campaign

9 October: Woman meets paramedics who saved her life

12 October: Nelson couple meet lifesavers who helped bring husband back from the dead

16 October: No heartbeat on the side of the road when an app summoned help 

16 October: Everyone can save a life – NZ Resuscitation Council

16 October (this one was probably the most widely seen – an interview on Duncan Garner’s TV and radio show: Emergency services call on public to learn how to perform CPR

17 October: Restart a Heart campaign brings lifesaving relief for teacher and school

17 October: Skills tuition on restart a heart


Overall, Restart a Heart Day 2018 was a success. Its second year was a significant step from its first. The important thing is that, since 16 October, thousands more New Zealanders are now trained in basic life saving skills. The NZRC has played its part in making that happen.


World Restart a Heart Day 2018 - ANZCOR Joint Statement


12 October 2018

Everyone can save a life. That’s the message of World Restart a Heart Day on Tuesday, 16 October, and throughout Australia and New Zealand people are stepping up to prove it.

Each year across Australia and New Zealand, about 30,000 people suffer cardiac arrest. Only one in ten of them survive. 

Restart a Heart Day is a global initiative to raise awareness and educate people about CPR and AEDs in the community. In schools, airports, farmers markets, city squares and lounge rooms, dozens of Restart a Heart Day events will take place involving thousands of participants.

“It’s about encouraging everyone to give CPR a go,” says Kevin Nation, Chief Executive of the NZ Resuscitation Council.

“We’re excited to see people all over the world coming together to make this the biggest Restart a Heart Day yet, and the first one that’s truly global.”

World Restart a Heart Day events are taking place in every continent on the globe, as part of a coordinated effort by the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation.

“Time counts in the event of a sudden cardiac arrest. For every minute that passes without intervention, the chance of survival decreases by 10%” says Professor Peter Morley, Chair of the Australian Resuscitation Council.

“We’re passionate about saving lives every day, but the World Restart a Heart initiative is something special. Whether you’re teaching hundreds of people or just teaching your kids over dinner, you’re making a difference.”

Everything needed to take part on the day can be found at the Restart a Heart homepage, including contact details for groups organising events in your area, downloadable flyers and fact sheets, and social media tools to spread the word.

The Resuscitation Councils of Australia and New Zealand are proud to support this important campaign, and we send our congratulations and thanks to everyone involved.

Natalie Gallagher takes on World Restart a Heart Day in Nelson

 natalie gallagher

5 October 2018

Nelson is known for its beaches, vineyards and a vibrant arts and craft scene.

After October 16, it may also become a much safer place to suffer a cardiac arrest, with Natalie Gallagher intending to introduce hundreds of adults and children to CPR.

Natalie, an NZRC CORE Advanced Instructor, plans to teach hundreds of people life saving CPR skills over a full week around World Restart a Heart Day – a plan she says will likely leave her exhausted, but satisfied to have made a difference in the community. 

“It’s possible we may reach a thousand people,” she says,“It’s something I just think is really worth doing.”

Focusing on the primary and intermediate schools attended by her son and daughter, Natalie and a crew of volunteers will take hundreds of children through the basics of CPR. 

The team will reach hundreds of adults as well, with teachers included alongside their pupils and an interactive stall set up in Nelson’s crowded weekend markets.

The week will begin on Saturday the 13th of October, with manikins at the market stall encouraging shoppers to put down their groceries and practice chest compressions.

“The markets have a huge turnout, people come from all over,” Natalie says.

“It’s a great opportunity to get out there and let everyone have a go. It’s about passing on the knowledge.”

Monday will see Natalie in schools leading children through an‘ambulance race’.

This innovative teaching method involves five half-body manikins, and teams tasked with simultaneously performing CPR on each.

A downloadable app linked to a screen measures everyone’s progress, giving live updates on who is doing the best job based on performance and quality. 

“It’s very visual and engaging,” Natalie says.

“Since kids today are into computers and animation it reaches them. It’s a good way to make sure they stay awake and informed.”

There will be other skill stations as well, covering things like how to use a defibrillator; particularly relevant, as the school has installed one following a teacher’s cardiac arrest in 2017.

“The kids walk away feeling they can do something, which is really empowering,” she says.

Natalie will be distributing informational posters downloaded from the Restart a Heart New Zealand website.

She has also made a poster herself, showing where AEDs are located on a city map of Nelson

This information can be found online at AED Locations NZ.

Medical equipment manufacturer Laerdal has donated 432 face shields, allowing school kids and farmers market attendees a chance to practice mouth to mouth.

World Restart a Heart Day provides Natalie and her helpers with the opportunity to promote better health outcomes in their local community.

 “It highlights the fact that anyone of any age can save a life,” Natalie says.

“We all want to save the world, bit by bit.”

 This is a great example of what will be happening up and down New Zealand around October 16th.

Please contact the NZ Resuscitation Council if you’d like to get involved in an event near you.

Shona Brown saving the world one at a time in Hastings

shona brown2

Shona Brown is passionate about saving lives, and she has good reason to be.

She and her husband survived a 2007 collision with a drunk driver, who knocked them off their bikes after swerving into the cycle lane.

“Statistically we shouldn’t have survived,” she says.

“Luckily one of the first guys on the scene was a fireman who knew what to do with us.”

The experience made her more determined than ever to help others as much as she could.

Shona is an active community member in Hastings, who helps coach the town’s Riding for the Disabled program. She is also involved with Royal Surf Life Saving.

On October 16 she plans to host a training session as part of World Restart a Heart Day, taking place after the scheduled riding program finishes, and open both to those involved and others in the wider community.

Shona learned about the day while browsing the NZRC website in preparation for an assessment, and immediately decided it was something she’d like to help with.

“I just thought what a wonderful opportunity to offer people a chance to learn CPR,” she said.

Since the 2007 crash, she has leaped into action twice to help other people injured on the road. 

“Just in my everyday life, I’ve had the privilege of helping resuscitate two cyclists, because I know what to do,” she says.

“The ambulance took twenty minutes to get there, probably some of the worst minutes of my life. I want people to have more knowledge so they can do their best in a situation like that. 

When asked what appealed to her about World Restart a Heart Day specifically, Shona shared a fable about an old man who encounters a boy throwing storm-stranded starfish back into the sea.

When the old man points out to the boy that thousands of the creatures were washed onto the beach, and he couldn’t possibly hope to make a difference, the boy smiles and tosses one starfish as far out over the waves as he can.

“It made a difference to that one,” he says.

Hard to argue with that!

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Restart a Heart Day - Together we can save lives

Only one in ten survive a cardiac arrest. We can beat that, and that's what World Restart a Heart Day is all about.

On October 16th, thousands of resuscitation trainers around the world will take part in a coordinated effort to teach life-saving cardiopulmonary skills to as many people as we can.

As always with these international calendar events, we here in New Zealand have the privilege of being first in line.

Restart a Heart Day was first observed in Aotearoa last year, with events taking place in such places as Auckland, Wellington, Masterton, Christchurch. 

This year we plan to take things up a notch.
Council member organisations have a range of activities planned. There will be resuscitation training provided to travellers in airports up and down the country, and a number of secondary schools, workplaces and clubs have signed up to be taught CPR.

Please get in touch if you want more information about these activities in your area, and if you'd like to help out.

This is a fantastic opportunity to raise the community profile of your organisation and to showcase your skills. Media will be paying attention, and it's a great chance to give back to the community.

You can also create an event of your own! If there's nothing in your area on the 16th, you could talk to your local school, Rotary Club, RSA, Ultimate Frisbee League or whatever you can think of. See if they're keen to be taught about saving lives. Even if it isn't possible for you to run a full practice session, you could always drop off some educational materials to be distributed among students or club members.

All this is available on the campaign website:

There will be a video put up there soon that doesn't feature an Australian accent, we promise! That one is just a placeholder.

How does this sound to you? If you're keen to organise something, or you are already organising something, there's one last request. We'd really appreciate you filling out a short survey (only four questions!) telling us more about what you intend to do. This will help us compare this year's events to last years, and will also allow us to tell people more about what's available in their area.

You can register the details of your event with the NZ Resuscitation Council here:

Principles of WRAH

The following overarching principles of ILCOR WRAH have been agreed:

1) WRAH Day will occur every year on 16 October, commencing in 2018.

2) The International Liaison Committee On Resuscitation will share resources and enthuse and motivate regional resuscitation councils. Involvement with WRAH will be voluntary for national resuscitation councils (NRCs), and they will be encouraged to develop their own strategies that fit their own countries.

3) It is not essential that all activity has to take place on one particular day (i.e., 16 October) but that it is done as close to that day as possible. It is important that a specific day is kept for the majority of the activity – and we would hope that most people do training on this day – particularly for media activity.

4) We will not limit WRAH activity to school children, although if countries wish to prioritise the training of children then we have many resources to share with them to enable this to happen.

5) We will have a media strategy for WRAH. On this page are examples of good practice from previous years and downloads of materials. This includes media packs, sample letters to schools etc., and all these will be shared

All seven constituent councils of ILCOR are supporting a global initiative to increase awareness about the importance of bystander CPR and to also increase actual bystander CPR rates worldwide.


The New Zealand Resuscitation Council endorses the statement Kids Save Lives, which was upheld by the World Health Organisation in 2015.

Kids Save Lives advocates a mandatory minimum requirement for all school children aged 12 and older to do two hours of CPR training every year.

The Ministry of Education and New Zealand Resuscitation Council have partnered to develop 'AEDs in schools', a guidance document for school boards and leaders.

'AEDs in schools' raises awareness that sudden cardiac arrest may happen to anyone, and it may occur on school grounds or during school activities.

Schools are encouraged to prepare for such an emergency and consider the value of an onsite automated external defibrillator (AED). 

'AEDs in schools' has now been released by the New Zealand Ministry of Education.


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