Celebrity ambassadors shine a light on better breathing


better-breathing-ambasitorIssac Luke, well-known professional rugby league player, is the newest face to help promote the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ. 

“Respiratory illness is something that is very close to me and my family. It can be very scary hearing your loved ones, or your teammates struggle with breathing,” says Issac.

“My father has suffered from asthma for most of his life, and for me growing up and hearing the nasty coughing and the struggle to breathe is something that will always haunt me. I now have four kids and two of them have suffered various forms of asthma over the years.”

“As an ambassador I want to raise awareness of asthma and respiratory conditions to all New Zealanders. There is amazing support available to help families deal with all kinds of respiratory problems,” he says.


Issac Luke debuted as ambassador on the Kiwi Living show recently, demonstrating an asthma test and correct inhaler technique. The segment also featured Alistair Harsant from “Ironman for Asthma”, his son Jai, show presenter Monty Betham and practice nurse Margaret Matchett.  Television personality Erin Simpson has been a celebrity ambassador for the Foundation since 2014.

New Zealand has one of the highest rates of respiratory disease in the world. More than 700,000 Kiwis have a respiratory condition, it’s the third leading cause of death and costs the country $5.5 billion each year.

Respiratory disease includes asthma, bronchiectasis, bronchiolitis, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer and obstructive sleep apnoea.



  • Respiratory disease is New Zealand’s third most common cause of death.
  • Respiratory disease costs New Zealand more than $5.5 billion every year.
  • One in six (more than 700,000) New Zealanders live with a respiratory condition, and these rates are worsening.
  • Respiratory disease accounts for one in eight of all hospital stays.
  • More than half of the people admitted to hospital with a poverty-related condition are there because of a respiratory problem such as asthma, bronchiolitis, acute infection or pneumonia. 

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