Dietitian Pūkenga Whakaita Kai (Ngā Tohunga Mātai Kai)

Dietitians provide advice and counselling about diet, food and nutrition to individuals and communities. They also design nutrition programmes to support health and wellbeing.

Dietitians need to be registered with the New Zealand Dietitians Board.

Nutritionists who meet specific criteria, such as having relevant work experience, may:

  • register with the Nutrition Society of New Zealand
  • become associate members of Dietitians New Zealand.

Dietitians may do some or all of the following:

  • counsel clients about their lifestyle and eating habits
  • plan special diets or provide specialised nutrition support for clients
  • do research and present findings at seminars
  • lecture at universities/polytechnics on the topics of diet and nutrition
  • provide nutritional information to food industry organisations
  • provide nutritional information to sports and fitness centres, and athletes
  • market specialist nutritional products.

Physical Requirements

Dietitians need to be reasonably fit and healthy as they have to act as role models for the people they are advising.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for dietitians includes:

  • work in a hospital kitchen or restaurant
  • food preparation work
  • teaching or staff management experience
  • working with people of different ages and cultural backgrounds.

Personal Qualities

Dietitians need to be:

  • outgoing and motivated
  • able to inspire confidence in others
  • patient
  • able to relate to a wide variety of people
  • good at communicating
  • organised and good at planning.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for dietitians includes:

  • work in a hospital kitchen or restaurant
  • food preparation work
  • teaching or staff management experience
  • working with people of different ages and cultural backgrounds.

Subject Recommendations

To enter tertiary training you need to have NCEA Level 3. Useful subjects include biology, chemistry, maths, home economics (food and nutrition), and health education.

Dietitians can earn around $49K-$100K per year per year.

Dietitians may progress into:

Dietitians may specialise in one of the following roles:

Clinical Dietitian
Clinical dietitians work in an area of dietetics such as allergies, irritable bowel syndrome or paediatrics.
Food Industry Dietitian
Food industry dietitians help companies to reformulate foods, and package and market foods so that healthy foods are available for purchase.
Food Service Dietitian
Food service dietitians work in kitchens at hospitals, rest homes, boarding schools or hostels. They are often employed by large catering companies to assist with menu planning for people with different dietary needs.
Public Health Dietitian
Public health dietitians promote public health by developing and implementing community nutrition programmes, and advising on food and nutrition guidelines. They may also work with retailers and manufacturers to improve access to healthy food options.
Dietitian

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