Our Mission

To improve the quality of life for people with asthma and related diseases throughout the Canterbury area by providing support, education, resources and knowledge to its members and the wider community

Our Story

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The inaugural meeting of the Canterbury Asthma Society, now known as CanBreathe, was held on the 12th September 1972.

The Society initiated the establishment of summer camps and swimming lessons for children as it was recognised at the time the importance of breathing exercises for those that suffered from asthma.

The Society recognized the importance of research to better understand asthma and one of the first studies it initiated was a Pilot Study on the Social consequences of Asthma in Christchurch in 1973.

Many things have changed since 1972 including the name of the Society which was rebranded as CanBreathe in 2012.  The understanding of asthma triggers and management, advances in medications and the establishment of asthma nurse educators are among the positive changes we have seen since the Societies inception over 45 years ago.

The services provided by the Society have also evolved to include other chronic respiratory conditions, in particular Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD, the more familiar term for most being emphysema.

Asthma however, remains a significant health issue affecting one in seven people, especially children. The importance of correct breathing, exercise and further research into the treatment and effect of asthma on individuals remains.  Asthma, COPD and other respiratory conditions rely largely on self management by the individual sufferer therefore understanding how to do this is crucial to these conditions not being a handicap to their living full and active lives.

Supporting and educating individuals and families to achieve this remains a key focus of the Society.


Help us support people living with respiratory conditions