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Nestlé and Massey University Partnership helps Nestlé Cook for Life education programme reach over 500 Manurewa High School Students

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Nestlé NZ has a long history of collaboration with the Massey University Dietetics department, working together to create shared value for both organisations and the local communities in which they operate.

In South Auckland, local communities have struggled for generations with problems such as obesity, over-consumption of takeaway food and lack of food knowledge and cooking skills. In 2012, we launched Nestlé Cook for Life to help educate the local community to combat this problem and inspire them to lead healthier, more active lives.

This year Nestlé has opened its doors to a group of Year 2 Massey University Dietetics students for placement as part of their Public Health and Community Nutrition Block. A first for Nestlé Cook for Life, the involvement of Massey University dietetics students in the delivery of the programme helped to enable over 500 Year 10 students at Manurewa High School, one of the largest Decile 1 schools in New Zealand, to participate in the educational programme over the month of June.

Manurewa High School are thrilled with the delivery and impact of the Nestlé Cook for Life programme for their Year 10 students. It has been a unique opportunity for the students to learn about nutrition and cooking skills in a hands-on and very engaging way. The students participate in an interactive nutrition session, then work together to prepare and cook a nutritious, affordable and healthy meal, finally sitting down to enjoy their lunch together. Students are provided with take-home resources to reinforce their learning and encourage them to share their skills by cooking for their family or wider community beyond their Nestlé Cook for Life session. Penny Bradford of Manurewa High School said:
“The feedback from all the classes was very positive. The students enjoyed the experience and the food and learned more about healthy eating. The learning added to the cultural diversity inquiry in which the students were engaged at the time. The facilitators persevered through the problems that they experienced with the logistics of cooking with such large numbers of students in a school hall and with many different staff. Manurewa High School appreciates the facilitators’ patience and genuine caring for the students.”

The initiative provides an excellent opportunity for Massey University dietetics students to gain experiential learning and practical skills, implementing a nutrition-based programme and putting their technical knowledge into practice in the context of a high school environment. Reena Soniassy-Unkovich of Massey University said: “Our students grew immensely from their experience facilitating the NCFL sessions. They especially benefitted from the opportunity to translate their theoretical knowledge in a real-life setting. The students were able to think of creative ways to convey healthy eating messages and help impart practical skills for life. Our partnership with Nestlé upholds our commitment to build healthier communities together”.

Massey University dietetics students continue their placement beyond the practical Nestlé Cook for Life sessions with office-based learning at Nestlé, using some of this time to reflect on their interactions with the students, understanding what key questions or concerns around nutrition that are impacting today’s youth and then leveraging those insights to create lasting nutrition education resources to support those who will deliver the Nestlé Cook for Life programme in the future.

Amanda McDermott, NZ Wellness Manager for Nestlé says of the collaboration between Nestlé, Massey University and Manurewa High School “This collaboration is a great example of how working in partnerships with other organisations can help to provide an even greater positive impact in the community. We really value our ongoing partnership with Massey University and look forward to continuing to strengthen our relationship with Manurewa High School to support nutrition health and wellness learning among their community.”