The Federation of Oceanic Nutrition Societies (FONS) launch

Several years ago, with encouragement and support from the International Union of Nutritional Sciences (IUNS), members of the Nutrition Societies of Australia and New Zealand and representatives from Pacific Island Countries began conversations about the feasibility and usefulness of a Federation representing nutrition in Oceania.

Extensive consultation with stakeholders across Oceania representing various sectors (nutrition, dietetics, public health, NGOs, government, universities, and private practice) confirmed overwhelming enthusiasm and agreement that FONS can make a difference, and be a collective voice for, nutrition in Oceania, including all Pacific Island countries/jurisdictions, Australia and New Zealand.

The FONS inaugural Founding Members meeting was held on 11th October 2023 where the Constitution was approved, and Committee members were elected. 

The FONS was then launched at the recent Joint Conference of the Nutrition Societies of New Zealand and Australia in Albany, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, New Zealand (28 November 2023). The launch event featured an overview of the development of FONS, two guest speakers and the rolling out of the mat which symbolizes FONS’s values and commitment to family and fellowship, networking, collaboration, and creating space for people to come together to have a conversation / talanoa / yarn / korero. IUNS kindly supported scholarships for Pacific Islands based Early- and mid-career representatives to attend and present at the conference.

The FONS working group, new committee and guest speakers at the launch event. Back row: Prof. Eugeni Roura (Committee member, Australia), Ms Elisiva Na’ati (President-Elect), Prof. Pam von Hurst (Secretary), Prof. Welma Stonehouse (working group), Dr Sarah Burkhart (President), Dr Jeanne Teisina (Guest speaker), Associate Prof. Pragya Singh (Committee member, Pacific Islands), Mrs Mallika Janakiraman (Committee member, New Zealand), Mr Sefano Katz (Guest speaker). Front row: Mrs Mafi Funaki-Tahifote  (Treasurer), Associate Prof. Tracy McCaffrey (working group) and Prof. Alison Coates (working group). Absent: Ms Josephine Maelaua (Committee member, Pacific Islands).

The purpose and values of FONS, as agreed with stakeholders, is to bring together people for the advancement of nutrition science (human and animal), health and wellbeing throughout Oceania. FONS values are People at the centre of what we do; Knowledge and Translation; Family and Fellowship; Equity, Inclusivity and Transparency; Respect, Trust and Integrity. 

FONS is looking forward to 

  • Enabling regional and global collaboration​;
  • Building capacity and capability across the region through activities that enable sharing of knowledge, research and networks​;
  • Creating communities of research and practice around shared challenges​; and
  • Amplifying the collective voice of the region​. 

We welcome you to join us. Membership of FONS is open to any individual or suitable organisation whose interests align with the FONS purpose and values. Major membership types include Ordinary or Organisation Members. Founding members will be members who join FONS during its establishment phase, from now until 31 March 2024. Up until this date, membership will be free but Founding Members can make a koha (donation) if they want to. From 1 April 2024, membership fees will be charged but will be minimal. The Nutrition Society of Australia (NSA), Nutrition Society of NZ (NSNZ) and the Pacific Community (SPC), have already confirmed their Organisation Membership.

For more information on FONS, please see their website: https://oceanicns.org/