From its beginning the NAS has changed from a totally voluntary society funded by subscriptions and fundraising to a Society funded by Government agencies and fundraising. Here is a brief resume of its history:
The first meeting of the Nelson Asthma Society was held on the 28th July 1976. It became a fully affiliated member of the NZ Asthma Society in 1979 which later became the Asthma Foundation in 1980. In September 1981 NAS became an Incorporated Society. In those days the Nelson Society functioned as a support group for people with asthma, holding educational evenings for older people and morning talks for those with younger children. The first children’s camp was held at Marahau in 1983 and with weekly swimming at the Ngawhatu Pool. The activities were supported by subscriptions and fund-raising, including cake stalls, raffles, etc.
30th January 2008 Nelson Asthma Society became a registered Charity
After much discussion with the DHB, in July 2009 NAS signed the first contract with Nelson Bays Primary Health Organisation, although the funding still comes through NMDHB from the Ministry of Health.
On 01 July 2010, it was mutually agreed that Nelson Bays Primary Health should employ the Respiratory Educators directly and our second contract mainly focused on awareness and promotion, plus continuing with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and Hydro pool sessions, nebuliser hire and dust mite covers, etc.
In early 2012 the nebuliser service discontinued and the nebulisers were donated to the Physiotherapy Department at Nelson Hospital.
In July 2013 a strong earthquake shook the region and the Halifax Street building owners, Canterbury Community Trust, organised for the building to be reassessed (initially assessed following the Christchurch earthquakes). This resulted in an immediate evacuation on 22 July 2013 and the final decision was made shortly after not to return. On 23 September 2013 Nelson Asthma Society moved to 319 Hardy Street and took a lease on an office.
The office was moved to Richmond Town Hall as we work very closely with Nelson Bays Primary Health which is very close by.
2017 Full Pulmonary Rehab courses commenced again in this region. Seven courses have been run since with 25+ people attending each course.
The respiratory support group was formed by ex-pulmonary participants and the Sing Your Lungs Out Choir started in Motueka and is still going strong.