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A Palagi perspective

Michele shares her story about how and why she signed up for the Certificate in Pacific Nutrition

My name is Michele Eickstaedt. I am originally from Brazil but have been living in New Zealand for over nine years. I completed my degree in Human Nutrition and Dietetics in Brazil, a few months before I came to New Zealand.

When I arrived here I fell in love with the mixture of cultures and found myself surrounded by many Pacific Island friends who embraced me as part of their own families. This helped me have a smooth transition to my new home country. I soon started to understand more about the Pacific communities in New Zealand and the health problems they face. This led me to pursue my dream career as a public health nutritionist, someone who enables others to make healthy choices.

However, I ended up working in the food industry for eight years, where I was never able to fulfil my ideal career expectations. So, at the start of 2013 I began full-time postgraduate studies in human nutrition at Massey University. Although this has deeply enriched my knowledge in health and nutrition, I still felt I needed to learn how to better convert that knowledge into practice to help communities become healthier. But how could I achieve this?

I found the answer at the Heart Foundation website which provided information about the Certificate of Proficiency in Pacific Nutrition (CPPN). By taking part in the CPN programme, I’ve had the opportunity to learn more about Pacific peoples, their cultures, their needs, and factors that influence their health. 

The CPN course has empowered me with culturally-appropriate skills to engage, communicate and educate Pacific groups. I was really impressed and inspired by how simply the lecturers taught the various topics. This course has shown me that teaching the community about health and nutrition is very easy. I have already started developing and delivering workshops to help people make healthier choices in their lives.

I recommend this course to all health professionals who work with Pacific communities. The CPN can provide health professionals with effective tools and resources to promote better health and nutrition among Pacific communities.

Learn more about our nutrition courses