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College of Health heads of school with Health Minister Tony Ryall and Vice-Chancellor Steve Maharey. From left,  Associate Professor Annette Huntington (School of Nursing), Professor Steve La Grow (School of Health and Social Services), Professor Emeritus Sir Mason Durie, Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Academic and International) and College of Health Acting Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Ingrid Day, Mr Ryall, Mr Maharey, Professor Jeroen Douwes (Centre for Public Health), Professor Richard Archer (Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health), Professor Steve Stannard (School of Sport and Exercise) and College of Sciences Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Robert Anderson.

Colourful launch to College of Health

Massey’s aspiration to become internationally known for its focus on preventing illness and promoting wellbeing was colourfully expressed at the official launch to its new College of Health.

Staff and students from disciplines represented within the college, including food and nutrition as well as sport and exercise, were on hand to show invited guests the results of their research and offer practical demonstrations with health check ups and servings of healthy ‘super’ foods.

Earlier, after unveiling a sign with Vice-Chancellor Steve Maharey ahead of the official launch on the Wellington campus, Health Minister Tony Ryall told guests that a multidisciplinary team approach rather than each discipline practicing in isolation, was one of the mega trends in health research and practice.

“The fact your college brings together so many disciplines under one roof in the spirit of cooperation is testament to the fact that you’re on to where the future is going,” he said.

The college has 310 fulltime staff and 2000 students and brings together specialists from public health, Māori and Pasifika health, sport and exercise, rehabilitation, nursing, social work and social policy, food and nutrition, occupational health and medical laboratory science.

Key instigator of the college, Professor Emeritus Sir Mason Durie, expressed confidence that the college’s strong, collective and distributed leadership and multidisciplinary approach will effectively address health risks and challenges. Before his retirement last year last year, Sir Mason, who was the University’s former Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Assistant Vice-Chancellor Maori and Pasifika, was the driving force for the initiative. The college was brought to fruition by his commitment to improving public health – specifically Māori health.

“There is a commitment to prevention, a commitment to having lifestyles that are going to ensure the next generation of New Zealanders are well, and there is strong leadership from people who have high expertise in a range of disciplines,” he said.

Combined these disciplines have formed “what looks to me a strong college that will make a difference to New Zealand’s health and contribute to the global millennium health goals the United Nations established in 2000.”

Mr Maharey, who also spoke at the opening, said the university has specialists constantly striving to find solutions to the big health issues.

“They will work together to create a world where most of the illnesses we have today no longer exist. Where illnesses like asthma, obesity and diabetes are as foreign to us as polio is today.”

Professor Paul McDonald, an internationally acclaimed public health specialist, was last year appointed as the college’s Pro Vice-Chancellor. He joins Massey in March.

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