Social work students honoured with awards

Source: Massey University

Sunny Song was presented the Te Tohu Iti Kahurangi Award.

Massey University’s School of Social Work recently acknowledged three of its top students from the Auckland Campus at the inaugural Student Social Work Awards.

Sunny Song was presented with the Te Tohu Iti Kahurangi Award, which recognises high academic achievement, exemplary field education practice, cultural practice and resolving an ethical or values-related challenge during their study or placement.

Unlike the other two awards, the winner of this accolade is nominated by fellow students. 

Miss Song, a fourth-year Bachelor of Social Work student says being recognised by her peers was humbling. “I still vividly remember the day I received my nomination. It meant a lot to me, particularly as an immigrant with a language barrier, studying in later age and as a mother of two children.  

“I hope by winning this award that I can be a role model for anyone who is interested in studying but may be hesitant because of barriers like age, language or may lack the confidence.”

She says while studying social work has extended her knowledge and ability to see issues from different perspectives, the most important element was developing good team work practices, which helps to navigate challenges when difficult situations arise.

Miss Song was awarded $500.

Jacqueline Henry received the Academic Excellence Award.

Academic Excellence Award

Fourth-year Bachelor of Social Work Student Jacqueline Henry was awarded the Academic Excellence Award, which recognises academic excellence by a third or fourth-year Social Work Student.

She says she feels very fortunate to have received this award and studying social work has allowed her to learn a lot about herself and her learning style, which she really values.

“I’ve found each and every one of the papers so important in forming my practice, from the theories and models to the policies and bicultural practice, and everything in between. It’s important that we celebrate the achievements of our future social workers and fellow students. Everything we learn shapes us as practitioners and so it will all ultimately trickle back down to the people and groups we support.”

Nominations for the award were sought from Auckland campus social work and social policy staff. Miss Henry was awarded $250.

Rumbi Mutukumira received the Social Work Practice Award

Social Work Practice Award

Rumbi Mutukumira was awarded the Social Work Practice Award, in recognition of her high practice standard, competence and her contribution to the field. Nominations for the award were sought from field educators, external supervisors, placement agency staff and service users. Students were also able to self-nominate.

Miss Mutukumira says studying social work has helped her to become more confident in herself personally and professionally. “Social work is a diverse career, it is not only rewarding but you also learn a lot about yourself along the way. I would recommend to other students to surround yourself with a good support system and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Create self-care anchors and work these into your routine.”

Miss Mutukumira was awarded $250.

‘Lonely in a crowd’ can reduce brain function

Source: Massey University

Being lonely in a crowd is worse for cognitive function than being lonely and alone, according to new research by clinical psychology graduate Dr Catherine Whitehouse.

And emotional loneliness is actually a bigger risk factor than depression, heart disease, diabetes and stroke for cognitive decline, she found.

Dr Whitehouse, who graduated with Doctor of Clinical Psychology from Massey University last month, investigated whether emotional loneliness, social loneliness and social isolation affected cognitive performance among older people. Her analyses showed that emotional loneliness had a detrimental impact on cognition. She also found that older adults who were emotionally lonely but not socially isolated had poorer cognition than those who were lonely and socially isolated. 

Her research explores the importance for mental and physical health of having strong, close emotional bonds, not just being in the same room with people, in later life. This resonates with evidence that “many key health outcomes associated with social isolation and loneliness such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and depression have also been reported as risk factors for cognitive decline,” she writes.

Social connections create behavioural and psychological benefits that can offset cognitive decline, such as encouraging healthier lifestyles, and the mood-enhancing, stress-reducing impact of socialising, her research found. But the discrepancy is that for some, group conviviality does not meet the need for one-on-one intimacy ­– instead it highlights the absence of a soulmate and intensifies loneliness.

Her research addresses concerns for the health of the growing proportion of older people in the population and the quest to better understand their needs. “Modern life in developed countries has increased the likelihood of older adults becoming socially isolated or lonely,” she says.

‘Successful ageing’, ‘positive ageing’ and ‘healthy ageing’ are buzzwords that reflect changing demographics globally and underpin increasing government and health sector interests in this area, Dr Whitehouse emphasises. Last year, Britain’s then-Prime Minister Theresa May launched her Government’s first loneliness strategy, following a survey of GPs who reported seeing between one and five people a day suffering from loneliness. 

Differences between social and emotional loneliness

Critical to her study is an understanding of the nuances of social and emotional loneliness and how they differ, as well as the role of social isolation and the impact on cognitive function, which includes memory, fluency, language and visuospatial ability.

Older adults facing major life changes, such as the death of a spouse, a decline in physical health and strength, less independence, or having to move away from established friends and support networks,  can access support and forge a social life. And while they may be not perceived as socially isolated or socially lonely by others, they may feel an acute absence of close, intimate and meaningful relationships, despite being surrounded by friends, family and social acquaintances.

“Older adults may not be aware they are lonely or do not want to admit to feelings of loneliness. It is an inexact science in terms of defining and measuring,” Dr Whitehouse says.

All by myself, or together alone?

Although there is no universally agreed-upon definition of the loneliness – it is subjective, a matter of perception – descriptions include subjective feelings of aloneness, separation, feeling distant from others, loss or abandonment. “Loneliness can be an outcome of social isolation, but it is not inevitable, as an individual may enjoy their own company and not feel separated from others or experience the pain and emptiness of feeling lonely. For others aloneness is a pathway to loneliness,” she says.

Individuals differ to the extent in which they experience loneliness, and this may reflect different levels of susceptibility to loneliness. “What is apparent, regardless of conflicting definitions of successful ageing, is that cognitive ability and social relationships for the older adults are key determinants of successful ageing,” she concludes.

Data from the New Zealand Longitudinal Study of Ageing (2010 and 2012) – one of a range of studies led by the Health in Ageing Research Team (HART) based at Massey’s School of Psychology – was used for analysis for her thesis, titled: The Impact of Social Relationships on Cognitive Performance in the Older Adult: Emotional Loneliness is Detrimental to Cognitive Performance. 

Dr Whitehouse became interested in the issue after a career change from being a chartered accountant to working with older people as Director of Manchester House Social Services in Feilding. This interest led to her thesis and she continues as a therapist both privately and through Massey’s Psychology Clinic at the Manawatū campus, which receives self-referals, and referrals from local GPs and the MidCentral District Health Board. 

She says society needs to talk more openly and deeply about the value and importance of emotional connections across all age groups to combat the stigma of loneliness.

The journey to level 10 without one, two and three

Source: Massey University

Dr Jeremy Hapeta graduated with his doctorate in November.

PhD graduate Dr Jeremy Hapeta, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Huia, says he became a “brain surgeon” straight out of school – in the offal room of a Levin abattoir.

After leaving Manawatū College with no qualifications, he spent two years working there, but dreamt of a university education. He says the role taught him transferable skills that helped to shape his future – early start times at 5am and a strong work ethic. He demonstrated resilience to persevere through two unsuccessful attempts to attend university before turning 20, and was eventually accepted as a “second-chance” learner into the Bachelor of Education programme. 

Today, Dr Hapeta is a physical education lecturer at Massey University’s School of Sport, Exercise and Nutrition. Over six years, part-time, he has worked towards his PhD investigating the inclusion of Māori culture when developing rugby team culture. He also explored the impact of these inclusive (or exclusionary) practices on wellbeing for rugby players, coaches and administrators.

A former professional rugby player in New Zealand, Japan, France and Italy, he looks back at his time at secondary school and wishes he had applied the same grit and determination to his studies as he did crafting his sport skills. He hopes his “non-traditional” pathway to gaining his PhD can inspire others to achieve academic success if they put their minds to it.

“It is the end of a long journey; it is extremely satisfying for me, my wife, our two children and wider whānau,” he says.

Dr Hapeta with his whānau at graduation in Manawatū.

“I wish I had made the connection earlier that everything I was doing in sport, those skills and tools, could be applied to my school work. But getting my PhD demonstrates that just because I skipped a few steps in terms of gaining high school qualifications, it does not necessarily mean the doors are closed to higher education.

“I didn’t receive the equivalent of NCEA level one, two or three, but here I am with level 10.”

Māori tradition in sport development

Dr Hapeta’s interest in his PhD topic began when he noticed Māori culture being increasingly incorporated into the development of sport teams. He was interested in the impact this was having on wellbeing for the people involved, both Māori and non-Māori.

His research led him to work with the Bay of Plenty Steamers, Taranaki Rugby’s Māori and Pasifika Rugby Academy (MPRA) and the New Zealand Māori U18s team, where he studied their approaches to cultural inclusion. The different ages and ethnicities of focus groups meant his research came from multiple perspectives.

He says, at times, he was surprised at the impact Māori traditions had for non-Māori players. For example, the Steamers undertook an exercise where the team had to research the various maunga within the Bay of Plenty region so they understood the geographic area they were representing.

“It quite literally grounded the players and gave them a sense of belonging. It was a really inclusive initiative that made people feel like they were a part of something much bigger.”

This process was not focused on performance-based outcomes, but the team’s leadership recognised the benefits of getting the off-the-field elements right.

“What stood out to me was their recognition of building solid foundations. They thought, ‘If we grow and nourish this side of the team and their connection to where they are playing, and allow it to flourish, some of the fruits this process will bear are strong outcomes.’ In one interview a coach even talked about being a better dad at home to his teenaged children”.

And their off-field pillars appear to have paid off on-field with this change in direction. The Bay of Plenty Steamers went from last placed in 2013 and 2014 to winning the Mitre 10 Championship in 2019 and gaining promotion to the Premiership for the 2020 season.

A traditional approach to research

Hapeta’s research utilised an approach known as pūrākau, or traditional narratives and storytelling, which acknowledges the past, present and future.

“In Te Ao Māori we walk ‘backwards’ into our future. We stare at our past, something that is known, as we walk towards the unknown future. This is what I would like to think my PhD contribution makes, it is about putting a pou or peg into the ground now so that we can progress and move forwards into a more culturally inclusive future. I hope the findings of my research might inform why and how Māori practices can be used to develop team culture.

He says working with the younger men who were part of the MPRA academy provided fascinating insights into their future aspirations, which were not centred around playing rugby professionally.

“What the academy was doing wasn’t about rugby, it was actually about life skills. Their second-chance learners weren’t treated like athletes, they were treated as people and rugby was the vehicle used to embed values into them like respect, forgiveness and work ethic. Many youth spoke of future aspirations like building their own home and furniture. One was returning to mainstream school so he could do his building apprenticeship, the majority of others exited into employment.”

Inspiring others to further their education 

Dr Hapeta hopes his story may inspire people of different ages and backgrounds and that his research will contribute to positive Māori stories.

“I’d like my research to reaffirm our cultural identity, increasing the mana of Māori and serve as a catalyst for other groups to recognise the value and potential that they could tap into.”

His advice for current students, or those considering studying but are hesitant to? Just do it.

“I hope in some small way I might provide an example that you don’t need to be a genius or rocket scientist to walk across the stage and get your degree, if I can do it, anyone can.

“And don’t be disheartened by setbacks. If I had listened to and accepted my first two rejection letters, I would not have applied a third time (lucky). It took me six years of part-time study to do this PhD. It was a struggle and didn’t come easily and that’s okay too.”

Spotlight on student research at sport conference

Source: Massey University

The conference explored the latest research across topics including high performance sport, medicine and rehabilitation.

Professor Narihiko of Kobe University in Japan was one of the keynote speakers.

How athletes can beat the heat in Tokyo to exploring the effects of a menstrual cycle phase on female rugby athletes’ physical performance and iron status, were among the research topics explored at the recent Sport and Exercise Science New Zealand Conference.

The annual conference was hosted at Massey University’s Manawatū campus and attended by more than 120 academics, researchers and students from around New Zealand and the world. They were also joined by trainers from the New Zealand Defence Force, Police and high-performance sports organisations.

Focusing on emerging research and showcasing the work and findings of students, topics included high performance sport, coaching, physiology, strength and conditioning, nutrition and metabolism and sports medicine and rehabilitation.

“It is so important to bring researchers and students together to share ideas, collaborate and inspire the sports scientists of the future,” says School of Sport, Exercise and Nutrition head of school Associate Professor Andy Foskett.

“We are proud to showcase our expertise, capabilities and capacity in sports exercise science through this conference and bring leading researchers from around the world to further attendees’ knowledge.”

Global perspectives

Chair of the Athletics Integrity Unit David Howman was the conference’s first keynote speaker.

Mr Howman, former director general of the World Anti-Doping Agency, gave a global perspective of some of the major challenges threatening the integrity of sport, from doping to bribery and corruption, match fixing and more.

“These issues deplete the value of sport and we need to realise how these areas are being attacked internationally,” Mr Howman says.

“We have an opportunity as New Zealanders to lead in the area of sports integrity. We are known globally for our good reputation, for saying it how it is. We do not have an agenda and we as a country and people can play a leading role maintaining sport integrity, internationally.”

The following international keynote speakers were brought to the conference with support from conference sponsors.

  • David Howman CNZM chair of the Athletics Integrity Unit (IAAF)
  • Research Associate Professor Jason Lee Yong Loo Lin – School of Medicine, National University of Singapore
  • Professor Narihiko Kondo, Kobe University
  • Distinguished Professor Aaron Coutts, University of Technology Sydney
  • Dr Andy Cooke Bangor, University Wales

Understanding malnutrition in vulnerable older New Zealanders

Source: Massey University

The qualitative study explores the perspectives and experiences of older New Zealanders’ food intake to understand factors that can lead to malnutrition.

The qualitative study, Eating less the logical thing to do? Vulnerability to malnutrition with advancing age, was recently published in the international research journal Appetite. It was completed by researchers at Massey’s School of Sport, Exercise and Nutrition, led by Associate Professor Carol Wham.

The research explores the perspectives and experiences of older New Zealanders’ food intake to understand factors that may lead to malnutrition.

“We know there is a problem with malnutrition among vulnerable older people who live in their own homes and this study goes some way to understanding this in more detail so we can begin to plan and implement strategies to address the problem.”

Some participants reported they probably ate only half of what they had eaten in the past. Almost all participants ate less because they thought it was the logical thing to do given that they undertake less physical activity. Their low appetites mean they rarely feel hungry and many regarded eating as a chore. While being around others encouraged eating, if someone was caring for a sick spouse, or were in a stressful situation, this reduced their appetite too.

Many were conscious of healthy eating and were focused on consuming more vegetables, while reducing their fat and sugar intake. Several said they had a preference for food they had grown up with, but could no longer readily access, or needed to avoid particular foods because of illnesses, food intolerance and chewing difficulties.

Dr Wham says not eating enough food is a challenge to maintaining a healthy weight, especially when multiple factors combine like illness, reduced mobility and barriers such as not having access to preferred foods. Weight loss leads to a loss of muscle mass and strength and problems associated with frailty. 

“Participants were purposively selected to represent ethnic diversity and on the basis of presence or absence of chronic conditions. Several respondents had multiple conditions such as hypertension, arthritis, gout, high blood sugar or cholesterol; most identified as having an illness severity of moderate or severe.”

The majority of participants took more than five medications and most were identified to be either malnourished or at risk of malnutrition. Previous studies have reported that about one in three older New Zealanders living in the community are at risk of malnutrition.

Evidence suggests peer volunteers trained to perform strength exercises and have nutrition-related discussions can help reduce malnutrition risk and improve frailty among community-dwelling older adults.

Dr Wham says identifying those who are at risk of malnutrition is an important first step. Then, people’s vulnerability to malnutrition can be reduced through focusing on individual perceptions and behaviours.

The study showed improving physical function among vulnerable older adults may be paramount in preventing decreased food intake, while encouraging appetising energy drinks or snacks could also help. Social support to maintain the health and resilience of older carers is also critical to ensuring their eating habits aren’t compromised while caring for a spouse. Caregivers play an important role but they need to receive health and nutrition training.

“Given New Zealand’s ageing population and encouragement for older people to live in their own homes as long as possible, it is an increasingly important challenge to overcome,” Dr Wham says. “It’s about increasing older people’s quality of life, of which nutrition play an important part.”

The research was undertaken by PhD student Idah Chatindiara from the University’s School of Sport, Exercise and Nutrition as part of her doctorate evaluating nutrition risk and intervening to encourage healthy eating.

Massey University confers honorary doctorate on Dilmah Tea founder

Source: Massey University

Dilmah Tea founder, and now Massey University honorary Doctor of Science, Merrill Fernando.

Massey University today conferred an honorary Doctor of Science degree on renowned Dilmah Tea founder Merrill Fernando of Sri Lanka at its Manawatū graduation ceremony, in recognition of his strong leadership in ethical business within the food and beverage industry.

Dr Fernando built Dilmah Tea from humble beginnings in Sri Lanka into a global brand and one that is well-known and loved in New Zealand. His connections with Massey date back two decades, to the late 1990s when he worked with Distinguished Professor Paul Moughan, a nutritionist and Fellow Laureate at the Massey-hosted Riddet Institute.

Massey Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas said Dr Fernando was a deserving recipient and just the fourth international recipient of a Massey honorary doctorate.

“This degree is one of our highest honours and recognises Dr Fernando’s great contribution to the tea industry and food science globally,” Professor Thomas said. “It celebrates his prowess in business and science, including his valuable collaborations with Massey University and his commitment to ethical food production and his philanthropic activities.

“We are proud to welcome Dr Fernando into the ranks of our Massey University alumni and look forward to ongoing collaboration and research with his company, and with Sri Lanka.”

Merrill Fernando walking in his graduation parade alongside Professor Paul Moughan.

A leader in fair trade and ethical business

As part of Dr Fernando’s visit, Massey announced a scholarship that will allow Dilmah employees or their family members to undertake professional development or degree study. Dr Fernando also took part in a tree-planting ceremony, planting a red silk tree used for shade on tea plantations, at the university’s Manawatū campus.

“Merrill Fernando is an astute, humble, just and philanthropic leader,” Professor Moughan said. “He is an inspirational role model for all of us. The Riddet Institute, one of New Zealand’s Centres of Research Excellence, has undertaken research work over the years for Dilmah on the antioxidant and health properties of Dilmah Tea and has had a close working relationship with Dr Fernando through this work. Our relationship over the years with Dr Fernando has been productive and enjoyable. We have always admired his support of science and his ethical approach to business.”

Dr Fernando has been widely praised for its leadership in fair trade and ethical food production, and the honorary doctorate also recognises work through the Merrill J. Fernando Charitable Foundation, which diverts 10 per cent of Dilmah’s pre-tax profits to charitable aid, providing support for marginalised communities and for people at risk. The foundation is said to touch the lives of 10,000 people every year. Additionally, Dilmah Conservation makes significant philanthropic contributions to environmental and cultural interventions.

This commitment to Sri Lanka’s people and communities has also been shared by Massey, with a recently completed twinning project with the University of Peradeniya. The project has helped build and implement a new curriculum for their veterinary programme, while strengthening the scientific and learning partnership between the two universities. The relationship was recognised at Massey’s Defining Excellence Awards this year with Peradeniya awarded the Partnership Excellence Award.

Doctoral breakfast connects student researchers with business community

Source: Massey University

Charline Lormand (left), Ellie Bradley, Akisi Ravono.

Kauri dieback, diabetes and dangerous volcanoes were three research topics served up by Massey University doctoral students at a breakfast in Palmerston North this week.

The breakfast, a collaboration between the University and Manawatū business-education promotion organisation Talent Central, is an annual event to connect students with the Manawatū business community.

Talent Central chief executive Margaret Kouvelis describes it as “an opportunity for business people to discover the talent that can be harnessed to add value to the Manawatū’s economic, environmental and social wellbeing”.

The students outlined their research findings and the potential impact of their work.

Some of the attendees of the Massey University and Talent Central doctoral breakfast.

Doctorate topics

Charline Lormand  – Predicting volcanic eruptions

How much time do we have before the volcano erupts? That’s the question PhD student Charline Lormand is trying to answer through her research. She has investigated the make-up of 60,000 micrometre-sized crystals within volcanic rocks called microlites to try to unlock the answer. 

The time it takes microlites to form, when they form and the depth at which they form within the volcano is what holds the clue to better understanding when a volcano is likely to erupt, Ms Lormand says.

Her aim is to provide communities and emergency response organisations with information on when people need to be evacuated.

Ms Lormand’s research has taken her around the world, from her home in France to Iceland and Japan. Studying with the School of Agriculture and Environment and Volcanic Risk Solutions Group, her PhD is focused on the Tongariro Volcanic Centre near the active volcanoes Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu.  

Ellie Bradley – Saving ancient kauri

Kauri dieback disease is threatening one of New Zealand’s most ancient and treasured tree species. While there is no known cure for the disease, Ellie Bradley hopes her PhD, through the School of Agriculture and Environment, may help.

Ms Bradley uses molecular biology techniques to better understand the relationship between the pathogen and the tree. Her aim is to identify important molecules from the pathogen that activate the plant immune system, with the goal of using this information to inform durable disease resistance programmes in kauri.

Akisi Ravono – Developing ideal diabetes care

Akisi Ravono is a registered nurse who is two years into her PhD with Massey’s College of Health investigating what patients and nurses describe as the ideal nursing care for patients living with diabetes and associated conditions. 

Her research is based on focus group discussions, interviews and field observations with patients and nurses in Fiji, with a focus on iTaukei, the indigenous people of Fiji, where a third of the adult population has diabetes.Learning from their experiences and taking into account cultural traditions such as not questioning the decisions of medical professionals, Ms Ravono aims to improve nursing care for diabetic patients and shift towards a more preventive approach to reducing life-threatening situations and associated conditions.

Pacific diabetes study leads to $125k grant

Source: Massey University

PhD student Gavin Faeamani will develop a diabestes prevention programme specifically for Pacific peoples.

A Massey University student has been awarded a $125,790 Pacific Health Research PhD Scholarship from the Health Research Council to investigate reducing diabetes and cardio-vascular disease rates among Pacific communities.

Gavin Faeamani, a research coordinator with The Fono’s Pasifika Pre-Diabetes Youth Empowerment Programme, will use the grant to develop a culturally-relevant diabetes prevention programme for Pacific peoples. The project will be the basis for his PhD thesis, which he plans to start next year. 

“I am very grateful to have received this award,” he says. “It will make a huge difference financially as it will cover tuition fees, research costs and provide a stipend while I do my PhD.”

Prevention programme will be a New Zealand first

Mr Faeamani says his project is unique because it will be the first time an established diabetes prevention programme will be adapted in New Zealand specifically for Pacific communities.

“Pacific people in New Zealand have the highest rates of diabetes and cardio-vascular disease and that increases their risk of cardio-vascular disease mortality, compared to the rest of the population,” he says.

“Despite improved risk screening and treatment, there have been no significant improvements for Pacific peoples, especially for adult males. Hence, identifying culturally-relevant approaches to reduce diabetes and cardio-vascular disease rates among Pacific peoples is critical.”

He says the project will measure the effectiveness of a culturally-relevant lifestyle programme on metabolic risk factors.  

“It will provide important, evidence-based knowledge in reducing diabetes and cardio-vascular disease risk, particularly in improving our understanding of reducing health equities for Pacific communities. 

“It will also contribute to understanding Pacific metabolic health at an international level through our international sister project in the United States.”

Looking to the future

Mr Faeamani says he is excited to be taking the next step in developing his research capacity.

“This scholarship provides an excellent opportunity for me to develop myself as a Pacific public health researcher. With the success of this research, I also hope to improve my researcher status so I can apply for further funding to scale-up this intervention programme.”

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Improving New Zealand’s primary health care

Source: Massey University

Massey University head of the School of Nursing Professor Nicolette Sheridan

Professor Nicolette Sheridan, of Ngāpuhi descent, will describe ways of organising general practice that are associated with good outcomes for patients, particularly for Māori and Pacific peoples, in what will be the final public lecture in Massey University’s Health by Design series.

Currently, the Government spends more than $900 million a year subsidising primary health services, but Professor Sheridan says there is limited information regarding quality, utilisation and outcomes of of primary care services making it difficult to systematically improve primary care across the country.

In 2018 Professor Sheridan was awarded $1.3 million from the Health Research Council of New Zealand and the Ministry of Health to lead a study investigating the effectiveness of different models of primary care. The research team includes senior academics from collaborating universities – Auckland, Otago, Cambridge (UK) and the Karolinska Institute (Sweden) – together with experts from Sapere Research Group, DataCraft Analytics, and other experts including GPs, nurses, a nurse practitioner, a public health physician, an academic consumer researcher, health service researchers, and Māori and Pacific doctors. 

“The traditional model of primary care has general practitioners and nurses operating as small businesses to deliver health care,” Professor Sheridan says. “Increasing pressures on the traditional model has come from factors that include an ageing, multi-ethnic and medically complex population; an ageing workforce; changing expectations of new graduate doctors and nurses and greater demands for accountability of health professionals.

Responses to these pressures have included corporate models of care delivery, with an emphasis on business management and processes that lower patient fees and increase access to care; and health care homes, with an emphasis on better use of doctor and nurse time, team-based care – mainly with nurses, pharmacists and doctors, and alternatives to face-to- face consultations, such as email and video.”

Data for the study is coming from existing national data collections, from Primary Health Organisations, and from interviews with general practice staff and patients, making it the largest collection of data on primary care in New Zealand.

The study findings are already showing considerable variation in all aspects of primary care, such as practice ownership, size, range of health professionals employed and links with social services. “There are differences in preventive care and patterns of prescribing such as for pain-killers and antidepressants,” Professor Sheridan says. “There are differences in outcomes such as rates of children being admitted to hospital with conditions that can often be managed in primary care. Some variation will be for good reason because patients have different health risks and health needs. We are interested to explore this variation because we think it will point us to practices that have found better ways to organise their services.”

Professor Sheridan, is a research professor, and was recently appointed as head of the School of Nursing at Massey University. She is a registered nurse with more than 25 years’ experience in clinical practice, research and education. Her research interests include healthcare consumers’ experiences of long-term conditions, and investigating disparities in primary health care services between indigenous and non-indigenous citizens, and Pacific and non-Pacific citizens as a means of monitoring government commitment to indigenous rights and equity in health care.

Event details

Time: 5.30pm networking, drinks and nibbles. Event concludes approximately 7 pm

Date: November 5

Location: Flax and Fern room, Block 9, Level B, Student Centre, Massey University Wellington campus

Click here to register.

Pureed food company takes out Supreme Award

Source: Massey University

2019 Supreme Award winners, The Pure Food Co: Co-founder Maia Royal, Massey University Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas, and co-founder Sam Bridgewater.

A company that produces texture-modified products to enhance the quality of life for people with eating difficulties has been named the Massey University Supreme Award winner at this year’s New Zealand Food Awards.

The Pure Food Co also won the James & Wells Business Innovation Award, with judges saying the company showed an impressive level of collaboration with target customers to understand consumer needs and realise the benefits of intellectual property to build a trusted brand.

The Auckland-based company was co-founded by Sam Bridgewater and Maia Royal in 2014 after a family member of Mr Bridgewater’s became so ill he could no longer eat solid foods. Products are supplied both nationally and internationally to hospitals and rest homes as well as direct to consumers. The nutritional benefits and quality of the food is achieved through collaboration with chefs, dietitians and food technologists.

“We’re honoured to get this award. It’s something we had hoped to win in the past, so getting it tonight is unreal,” Mr Bridgewater said.

“Every day we try and put our feet in our consumers’ shoes, our elderly customers. We try to think about what makes a better meal for them and how we can improve their nutrition.”

The company previously won two New Zealand Food Awards categories – the Massey University Health and Wellness Award in 2015 and the Ministry for Primary Industries Food Safety Culture Award in 2017.

The judging panel said The Pure Food Co met all of the criteria for selection of a Supreme Award winner, judged against the three themes of innovation, excellence and sustainability.

“The judges agreed that this company demonstrated best practice in terms of its growth and strategic direction, market development and product development processes, and nutritional and health impacts.”

Judges stated that the products were innovative and of extremely high quality. “From a social sustainability perspective, The Pure Food Co proactively engages in upskilling health care professionals as well as their own staff, and from an environmental sustainability perspective, they seek to manage the environmental impacts of their processes.”

The Griffins Food Company was winner of the Product Lifetime Achievement Award for its Gingernuts. The award was presented to marketing and innovation manager Tracey Seager, pictured with the Griffins bakery team.

New award for lifetime achievement

The New Zealand Food Awards have celebrated New Zealand manufactured products, focusing on innovation and excellence, since 1987. Sponsored by Massey University, they are open to small and large food and beverage manufacturers, primary food producers, food service providers and ingredient supply companies.

This year, for the first time, a Product Lifetime Achievement Award celebrating New Zealand products that have withstood the test of time, was presented. The inaugural winner was The Griffins Food Company for its iconic Gingernuts biscuits. Finalists were Goodman Fielder for pantry staple Edmonds Baking Powder and Kraft Heinz for Watties Tomato Sauce.

The judges said the fact the finalists’ products were still on the shelves was proof of the impact of the initial innovation and the ongoing quality control that made them trusted brands. The winner was both innovative in its day and strong enough to hold off challengers over the years.

Tracey Seagar, marketing and innovation manager at Griffins, said it was “amazing” to be the first winner of the award.

“What we love is that everyone has a story about Gingernuts and when you work at Griffins you hear them all, so we definitely have a place in Kiwis’ hearts,” she said.

Massey Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas, who presented the Supreme Award, congratulated all the finalists and award category winners. “Each year we see a lift in quality and innovation that makes the job of our judges so much harder – and that is exactly what we want for success of the New Zealand food industry,” Professor Thomas said.

The New Zealand Food Awards expert judging panel includes celebrity judges Bite magazine’s Ray McVinnie, chef Geoff Scott and World Kitchen television host and chef Nici Wickes, along with some of New Zealand’s best technical and packaging judges

Apart from Massey University, as principal sponsor and event organiser, the awards are made possible with the support of New Zealand Food Safety, Countdown, Cuisine Magazine, James & Wells, The Intermedia Group New Zealand, Eagle Protect, Palmerston North City Council, FoodHQ, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, The FoodBowl, Z Energy, Villa Maria and The FoodPilot.

Winning products earn the New Zealand Food Award’s quality mark to highlight the superiority of their products to both shoppers and industry.

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2019 New Zealand Food Awards winners 

Massey University Supreme Award: The Pure Food Co

Product Lifetime Achievement Award: The Griffins Food Company – Gingernuts

The Shout Alcoholic Beverages Award: The White Sheep Co – Sheep Milk & Honey Gin

Cuisine Artisan Award – winner: Poaka New Zealand Ltd – Poaka Coppa 60g Platter Pack

Cuisine Artisan Award – runner up: Bellefield Ltd – Cultured Butter Miso Flavour

 James & Wells Business Innovation Award: The Pure Food Co

 Chilled/Short Shelf Life Award, in association with Eagle Protect: The TATUA Co-operative Dairy Company Limited – Tatua Cooking Cream

New Zealand Food Safety Primary Sector Products Award: Kiwi Quinoa Limited – Retail Pouch of Wholegrain Quinoa

Frozen Award, in association with Palmerston North City Council: Waitoa – Premium Chicken Fillet Burgers Ancient Grains

Countdown Grocery Award: Proper Crisps – Proper Crisps Purple & Gold Potatoes with Cracked Pepper & Sea Salt 

Massey University Health and Wellbeing Award: Kim’s Kitchen – Gluten Free Chicken & Coriander Dumplings

Non-Alcoholic Beverages Award: WNS Group – WDOM 5.0% Fat Longlife Creamy Whole Milk

Novel Food or Beverage Award, in association with Z Energy and The FoodBowl: The White Sheep Co – Sheep Milk & Honey Gin