Health & Weight

Specialist weight loss surgery for Northland

Based in Northland, for Northland

About Us

We are a team of specialised health professionals providing weight loss surgery (bariatric surgery) to the people of Te Tai Tokerau. Bariatric surgery is much more than weight loss; it’s about improving all aspects of your health. We are privileged for the opportunity to partner with you during this time.

About Obesity

Obesity is a major health concern. Meaningful and sustained weight loss improves health.
Obesity Is Complex

The cause of obesity is multifactorial and includes behavioural, environmental, social, cultural and biological factors. It is not just a case of eat less and exercise more.

Obesity Is Common

Obesity rates are increasing worldwide and New Zealand has the 4th highest rates in the developed world. In New Zealand, one in three adults have obesity.

Obesity health effects

Obesity affects almost every organ system in your body. It is a major contributing cause of many health conditions such as: diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, sleep apnoea, renal failure, arthritis, mental health concerns, and has many social implications.

Weight Loss Improves Health

The evidence is clear that even modest weight loss has health benefits. Losing just 5-10% of your body weight will improve health outcomes.

Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery is the most effective method to achieve substantial and sustained weight loss. Weight loss outcomes vary between person to person, but on average, bariatric surgery results in 20-35% total body weight loss. This is associated with substantial health improvement.

You As A Whole Person

As mentioned, obesity is complex. A treatment plan needs to address all factors that contribute to obesity for long term success. Our team of specialised health professionals are here to help you achieve your best possible health. 

The process at a glance

Bariatric Surgery – a health improvement journey

Ready for Change?

Bariatric surgery can be an incredible opportunity to make some positive changes in your life. However, it is important to think about having surgery at a time where you have the best chance to make it a success. While the surgical operations themselves take a couple of hours, the changes and commitment to make surgery work, last a lifetime. Having realistic expectations about what surgery means in your life is essential. We invite you to think about whether you are ready to commit to changing your actions, your relationship with food, and embrace a new lifestyle. Along the way we are here to support you to make the most out of this opportunity, however, ultimately the choice is yours; are you ready?

Get Referred

Northland Health & Weight require a referral from your GP or Nurse Practitioner. These are the professionals that are aware of your overall health background and we place high importance on working collaboratively with your primary care team. After surgery, our team will follow you for two years before hand over to your primary healthcare provider.

Your primary healthcare team can refer you via the usual electronic referral pathways or email our team directly.

Meet The Surgeon

Once your referral has been received, you will be contacted by our administration team. An introductory phone call with our Clinical Nurse Specialist will be arranged and then an in-person consult with our Surgeon. This consult is available in Whangārei or Kaitaia.

During this meeting we will discuss your: medical and surgical history, obesity related health issues, and weight loss and health goals. Your pre-surgery preparation program will be outlined, in addition to any medical investigations required. Surgical options will be explored.

Dr Sean Liddle is a New Zealand trained General Surgeon specialising in bariatric, upper gastrointestinal and minimally invasive surgery, working for Te Whatu Ora Te Tai Tokerau and in private practice.

Preparation Program

Prior to an operation, it is important to get ready. You will spend several months working with our specialist team with the overall aim to make changes and form habits for long-term success. It is important not to see this time as a delay to surgery, but rather, crucial work required to get the most from this opportunity. Consults will be arranged with our dietitian and psychologist. Medical investigations may be required and will be arranged as needed.

A special note on physical activity: during the lead up to surgery we ask that you commit to a form of exercise. Over time, the sort of activity you will be able to do will change but now is the time to put in place the habit. Aim for dedicated physical activity 3-4 times per week, 30-45min on each occasion. Resistance exercises are important to maintain muscle mass. Exercise may not make a big difference on the scales, but it has numerous non-weight related health benefits.

Once you are ready for surgery, another appointment will be arranged with your surgeon. The specific surgery plan, risks and benefits will be discussed. A surgical date will be planned and a consult with our anaesthetist arranged. Several weeks of Optifast is required immediately proceeding your operation and you will be provided with these finer details in the appointment.


Your operation will take place at Kensington Hospital, Whangārei. Hospital staff will contact you during the week prior to confirm your pre-operative instructions. You will be admitted to hospital the morning of your surgery. The operation takes 2-3 hours and the average hospital stay is two nights. Your surgeon, anaesthetist and nursing staff will take care of your medical care during this period. Discharge is appropriate when your pain is controlled, you are mobile, off oxygen, and tolerating adequate fluid intake.

Your New Life

Bariatric surgery, and the preparation required, is an amazing opportunity for change. Although it is not designed to fix every issue in your life, a lot of people describe it as a major life event where they have had a ‘reset’. The weight loss outcomes are significant, but we encourage you to focus on the non-scale victories and make these your most valued post-surgery change. These include: improved fitness levels, engagement in activities with family, improved self-confidence, less medications and improved chronic health conditions (and many more).

However, it’s not all smooth sailing. Surgery is a permanent change to your gastrointestinal system, designed to improve your health. People report big changes post-surgery, which can be challenging (things like excess skin, hair loss, relationship difficulties) and rewarding. We cannot predict what challenges might show up for you post-surgery, but what we can predict is that we will be here to support you as required.

Get in touch today!