FORMER New Zealand age group squash representative Jessie Halbert (Ngati Porou, Te Whānau-ā-Apanui, Rongowhakaata) has joined Turanga Health as a nutrition and physical activity kaiāwhina.
Jesse has been with Turanga Health for four months working in schools giving nutritional advice, and taking a range of different physical activity programmes that run across Turanga Health, like crossfit classes and heritage trail walks.
He’s spent the past few years travelling South East Asia and Europe, specifically England, Greece and Italy. “I was in Melbourne last, and came home and saw the job advertised. I have spent time representing New Zealand in squash and touch rugby and through that have had dietitians and nutritionists feeding me different pieces of knowledge over the years, so it made sense.”
Jesse attended Wainui Beach Primary School and Ilminster Intermediate before graduating from Gisborne Boys’ High School and heading to Victoria University.
He completed two years of a law degree before taking a “really long break” and will be with Turanga Health until early 2017, before returning to Wellington to complete his studies.
He says his plan is to segue into criminal law as a prosecuting lawyer so he can, “learn the whole template” of the law field. “I would love to go into defence law too. I have just always had a passion for it.”
Jesse’s ultimate goal is to work with Māori in some form. “That, and giving back, are the main things for me. Specifically here through physical exercise and health - it is the key to life, being healthy and eating well. Working with Māori will always be my main drive in any career path.”
Jesse’s passion for enabling Māori to live happy and healthy lives mean he’s been in his element the past four months. “My favourite part is the people. Turanga Health is an awesome company and a good environment to work in. They provide a lot for the community which creates a huge incentive to do your best and give that little bit extra. It does not feel like your typical nine to five job.”
In his down time Jesse plays touch for Turanga Health, surfs, spends time with family and friends and plays a song or two on his guitar.
Turanga Health welcomes Jesse Halbert.
Students don’t evade PE class at Gisborne’s Ilminster Intermediate any more following a new focus on health, wellbeing, and community involvement.
New ways of teaching PE, help from Turanga Health, and closing the school cafeteria have combined to boost students’ motor skills, increase their energy, and motivate them to take part in more physical activity, says Principal Peter Ferris.
“We are pinching ourselves and asking is this really happening? We’ve overseen a complete cultural transformation of the health and PE programme and kids are enthusiastic and high fiving.”
Teacher and head of PE Shane Hooks was responsible for overhauling the way PE was taught. “I love teaching the subject but I know not all teachers do.” Shane created PE lesson plans for staff and demonstrated teaching strategies. It’s made a real difference “Before you’d look over to PE class and see eight or nine kids sitting it out. Now you’ll see no one, or maybe one because of an injury, and that person is annoyed that they aren’t taking part!”
PE classes that include a Turanga Health Heritage Trail are a highlight. Students run or walk around sites of historical significance in the city. The trails are guided by specially trained (and fit!)Turanga Health kaiāwhina. Māori and European history is interwoven in the perfect combination of historical education and exercise.
Improving the health and wellbeing of staff is also a focus. Staff were offered an onsite wellness check with a Turanga Health nurse. Three were referred to their GP for treatment, one was referred to a smoking cessation programme, and 18 are taking part in a weight loss challenge.
Helping weight loss has been closure of the school cafeteria. Instead of an outcry, parents and caregivers accepted the change, and anyone wanting lunch can order it from the new delivery lunch provider that’s sprung up in its place. Turanga Health has also supplied water bottles.
Mr Ferris says success is measured by fitness testing students during the year. Whether the goal be completing 10 press ups, or running 10 km, every student is nurtured and helped to achieve success.
“While some change is immediate like improved speed or ball skills, other change might not be noticeable until years to come. Perhaps it will be seen in the food choices students make when they are living away from home or a decision to go for a walk instead of playing PlayStation. That’s the real measure for whether we have made a difference.”
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