Update: JUST COOK Healthy Ageing and Tika Tunu

The National JUST COOK Healthy Ageing programme continues to grow in reach. Since February 2020 programmes have been delivered in Orewa, Rotorua, Nelson, Dunedin and Ruatoki (Eastern Bay of Plenty). Another eight scheduled programmes have been cancelled and put on hold as result of COVID-19 response. The growth in demand for the programme is rewarding after many months of trying to gain traction in communities. For example, Tatjana Smolic from the New Zealand Nutrition Foundation (NZNF) Rotorua Branch now has 9 people from Green Prescription on her programme waiting list, indicating that the programme is reaching people in need.

Confirmation of interest from the Mt Albert, Sandringham and Whangaporaoa Baptist Churches has been received and programmes will commence once Ministry of Health (MoH) clearance is given.

Like all our work, programme delivery is dependent on grant funding, partners, volunteers and sponsorship.

A huge thank you to Countdown which provides programme food vouchers, Estate of Ernest Hyam Davis & The Ted and Mollie Carr Endowment Trust, Community Organisation Grants Scheme (COGS), Bay Trust and Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust which have assisted with grant funding and partner organisations that help with delivery and triaging participants. In Rotorua alone the following partnering organisations have been involved : Age Concern, The Mokoia Community Association (MCA), Kai Rotorua, Multicultural Rotorua, Diabetes NZ-Rotorua, QE Hospital, Korowai Aroha, Sport Bay of Plenty, Western Heights Community, Linton Park Community Trust, Senior Net, U3A, Grey Power, Probus.

Programme delivery would not be made possible without our dedicated and resourceful volunteers who help to sessions fun and stress free.

Here are some of our JUST COOK Healthy Ageing participants comments and what they learnt from the programme:

’Eating lot less meat and more vegetables. Thinking more about what I am eating.’’

‘’Using new recipes from Just Cook Healthy Ageing cookbook.’’

‘’This course reminded me to leave bad habits behind. Thinking more what I put on my plate. I reduced sugar from my diet. ‘’

‘’This course is good for all age groups. I recommend it to carry on.’’

‘’I enjoyed chicken stir fry, toasted sandwiches, and tuna fritters. I have told my practice nurse about this course; I have really enjoyed it.’’

‘’Looking at vegetable protein as an alternative to meat. Picked up cooking hints.’’

‘’Learned food values. Planning meals and planning shopping. I would recommend the course to others. I am more motivated to cook balanced meals.’’

‘’Doing this cooking class has allowed me to introduce more vegetables and salads into cooking’’


Funding money has been received to extend the Tika Tunu Community Programme to Pacific communities and vulnerable communities in 2020. The focus of these programmes is to develop cooking skills using affordable healthy ingredients. The first 4-session programme has taken place in Warkworth with ladies from the Kiribati community. These ladies and their families have come to New Zealand to work with the local horticultural industry. Issue of food security, a lack of familiarity with New Zealand food and cooking equipment are challenges faced by migrant workers. Programme success was entirely dependent on building strong, trusting relationships with both participants and partner organisation. We work with the communities so that programme is meaningful and appropriate for them. We would like to thank our corporate members who have donate product to the participant gift bags.

Early Education Centre (ECE) cooking demonstrations for parents/ caregivers have been organised by NZNF in collaboration with Auckland District Health Board (ADHB) for 8 ECE centres across Henderson, Massey, Otahuhu and Point England. The ECE receives 2 demonstration sessions focusing on preparing healthy affordable lunchboxes and breakfasts for pre-schoolers. The demonstrations are delivered by trained nutritionists or dietitians. Parents are given the opportunity to taste the prepared food and were given gift bags of product kindly donated by NZNF partners.

The Tika Tunu programme planned for the City Mission in April has been put on hold due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This 4-session programme focuses on making the link between healthy food choices and improved wellbeing as well as improving participants’ skills, motivation, confidence to cook and aims to deliver a programme which is fun, interactive and responsive to participant needs.

Much of the planning has been completed in co-designing a Tika Tunu programme for the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa at Mangere East which wanted a food and nutrition programme to help assist their community with healthy eating. As soon as we are given the all clear from this 4-session pilot programme will get underway. There is a lot of interest from this community so it is anticipated the pilot programme will be extended to include more members.

Last modified: January 27, 2022