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Pacific nutrition graduates honoured

Samoan journalist and newsreader Niva Retimanu congratulated the 2016 Certificate in Pacific Nutrition (CPN) graduates during her address at their graduation ceremony at Auckland’s Sorrento in the Park today.

Niva Retimanu speaks at graduation

Niva also shared her own amazing health journey which led to her becoming a marathon runner.

Forty-five people were awarded the certificate, now called the AUT Certificate in Proficiency in Pacific nutrition. The course is a Heart Foundation and Auckland University of Technology (AUT) partnership, primarily for people working in Pacific communities who can train, advise and support others in making informed healthier nutrition choices.

Collectively, the group has a far-reaching impact on the community. For example, Jesse-Lee Morgan is from Te Rito Ora - a South Auckland community-based infant and breastfeeding support service.

Janet O’Conner, a Project Manager for the Migrant Service Trust, has already presented a four-week Pacific nutrition workshop to the Kiribati Waitakere Committee, with outstanding results. 

Mangere East residents Natasha Lilo, along with family-members Joshua, Laelani and David are inspiring their community by running free Fit Club sessions at Mangere East Rugby League Club Park. 

The Lilo family completed the course because they felt a strong need to increase their nutrition knowledge and share it with the 40-50 community members that now regularly attend their Fit Club.

Early learning

The course is popular with those in early learning services, who have the important responsibility of providing meals for under-fives. Fern Pereira, a chef at the Parnell Community Trust Early Childhood centre is hugely inspired by learning more about the science of nutrition and how it impacts on heart health and wellbeing. She has gained a whole new outlook on her menu planning for the children.

“For more than a decade, the Pacific Heartbeat Team has been proud to offer the Certificate in Pacific Nutrition,” says Louisa Ryan, Pacific Health Manager for the Heart Foundation.

“This course is designed for those who serve the Pacific community in one form or another. It empowers them to share their learnings with Pacific peoples, in a constructive and relevant way.

“This year, we saw a healthy increase in attendees and we are thrilled with the achievements of our students in 2016. Their work will impact and improve the lives of everyone they touch and will help address the issues we see every day in the Pacific communities, such as obesity, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.”

Three students who, in previous years, completed the Heart Foundation’s Pacific Heartbeat Mentoring and Support programme will also be acknowledged. They will be awarded ‘Train the Trainer’ certificates.

CPN course participants attend nine evening sessions over eleven weeks. The course was founded in 2002. Course fees are subsidised by the Ministry of Health for New Zealand residents or citizens. 

Register your interest for the CPN course