Looking at the realities of Pacific food security – in Tongan

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The Tongan video in the AUT Pacific language series.

By AUT News

The Tonga episode in Auckland University of Technology’s Pacific language video series – Adapting to a Changing World, Shaping Resilient Futures – has been released.

The video is narrated in Tongan (with English subtitles) from the viewpoint of a 15-year-old girl, to acknowledge the language being celebrated in Aotearoa New Zealand this week.

It looks at the issue of food security among our Pacific families in Aotearoa, based on significant findings from the Pacific Islands Families Study (PIFS).

PIFS director Associate Professor El-Shadan Tautolo said the availability and cost of healthy food options was a significant issue faced by many communities across Aotearoa, including Pacific families.

“Our research found that around 40 percent of the 1300 families interviewed, could not afford to buy healthy food, and as a result, they would often skip important meals and go hungry, or they would buy food that was less nutritious, but cheaper,” said Associate Professor Tautolo.

“Much more needs to be done for our communities when it comes to this issue.

“There are some resources available, including AUT’s Certificate of Proficiency in Pacific Nutrition, which supports our communities to utilise healthy eating options or alternatives, at a low cost, to avoid diet-related health diseases.

“However, at a policy level, governments need to do more to close the gap between food availability, choice and cost, particularly in light of the recent covid-19 situation and the impact on household incomes and the ability to buy nutritious healthy food.

“The upcoming elections provide an opportunity to see this issue highlighted – we need urgent regulatory changes to ensure healthy food options are prioritised.”

Release dates for upcoming videos:

  • Te Wiki o te Reo Māori (Māori Language Week) – Sunday September 13 2020
  • Tuvalu – Sunday 27 September
  • Fiji – Sunday 4 October
  • Niue – Sunday 18 October
  • Tokelau – Sunday 25 October
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