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Remembering Cliff Tasman-Jones

Dr Clifford Tasman-Jones CNZM was an eminent gastroenterologist and nutritionist and a founding member of the New Zealand Nutrition Foundation. He passed away peacefully on Monday 19 July 2021. Below is a piece written by Sue Pollard (previous CEO of New Zealand Nutrition Foundation) in memory of Cliff. 

In 1965, my first year as a registered dietitian, I was offered a position at Middlemore Hospital. There had been no dietitians employed at Middlemore for some time - I think about two years – but as medical wards were being set up the first time they badly needed dietetic services to be recommenced. So there I was an overworked new graduate, in a 600-bed hospital with services badly needed in medical and other wards.

One of my saviours was Cliff Tasman-Jones, who had arrived back from the UK and had new findings of the dietary management of his patients. Doctors did not go into hospital kitchens in those days, but he came into the foodservice regularly to explain exactly what he needed for his patients.

About 40 years later I was employed as the CEO of the New Zealand Nutrition Foundation, of which Cliff was the Medical Director. But he was more than that! From day one he supported me just like he had all those years ago, visiting the office regularly, showing me the ropes and helping me with my many tasks. The Foundation had been without staff for some time - history was repeating itself! 

In my years at the Foundation, Cliff was a constant support, promoting the work of the Foundation to potential donors, politicians and others. The development of a nutrition food labelling system for New Zealand was his vision and a major achievement of the Foundation – it was reluctantly abandoned when the Government adopted the current system. This was only one of his initiatives supporting the Foundation’s activities.

He was a personal friend and mentor to me, a great supporter of dietitians, making an enormous contribution to the profession, and to public health nutrition in New Zealand.