In 2016 as part of the NZISF we worked with our funders MBIE, the Healthier Lives organisation, Otago Polytechnic, Rebecca Wilson Nutrition and the University of Otago to create an outreach initiative with the Pacific Island youth community.
Project Activate equips young people to make lifelong healthy choices by learning about the science of good health. The week-long holiday programme provided a rich environment for the kids to explore new ideas and skills, and try out a wide range of really interesting things, from experiments in a food science lab to learning how to read food labels at the supermarket and swimming in a flume at the speed of an Olympic swimmer. They also invented healthy recipes, measured heart rates, and got their families involved too.
Players from the Otago rugby team helped out at several sessions as mentors, and told the kids they wished they’d had the same learning opportunities when they were young.
Pacific Trust Otago was a key partner in the programme. Finau Taungapeau, Community Development Facilitator, says that in Pacific communities “Actually there’s a lot of health issues, it’s quite complicated. The Activate programme is very very good, it lifts the spirit of the families involved. The whole whanau are working together to learn”.
The movie also provides background to the types of health issues we’re facing globally that are closely related to our lifestyles (obesity, diabetes, heart disease, some cancers), the scale of the obesity problem in New Zealand, particularly the impact for Pasifika communities, what activities the kids got into, and of course what they thought!
Thank you once again to Curious Minds (MBIE) for making the initiative possible.