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Vaevae manava and food security in Tongan communites: a way forward

4 months
Approved budget:
Mrs Litiuingi Ahio
Health issue:
Proposal type:
Pacific Health Summer Studentship
Lay summary
In 2000, 43.6% of Pacific Island mothers of the Pacific Island Families Study (PIF) longitudinal study said that they either 'sometimes' or 'often' ran out of food. Factors associated with this state of food insecurity included: lack of money, having two or more children, being of Tongan or Niuean ethnicity. Food insecurity is associated with the high obesity rate in Pacific families. Drawing on the PIF study, my Master's study explored the contexts and perceptions of food security for Tongan mothers and health workers. A strong underlying cultural concept of vaevae manava or the sharing of resources was evident. This summer studentship will explore further how vaevae concepts may impact positively on food security. The outcome for this pilot study will be setting the ground for PhD project to enhance food security issue for Tongans and also extend it out to all the Pacific people in New Zealand.