The first New Zealand volunteers to take part in the Pacific Islands Business Mentoring Programme have returned from the second of six trips to the Cook Islands. Five mentors from Business Mentors New Zealand (BMNZ) travelled to Rarotonga in May and recently went back to assess the progress of their clients and to meet with new ones.

The Cook Islands were the first of 11 Pacific island countries to be included in the BMNZ managed project over the next three years with funding provided by New Zealand’s Aid Programme.

Mike Ogle, a New Zealand mentor participating in the programme, says that many of his Cook Island clients have reported positive changes since their initial meeting.

‘I’ve noticed that they are a lot more focused and most of them are now moving in a very clear, new direction,’ explains Mike. ‘Of course, progress varies according to the company and the individual but some of the results are just incredible. One business owner has seen a 150% increase in sales over a six month period, another saw a 60% rise in turnover and a 30% lift in his profits.

‘Much of that is purely down to having someone to talk to and mull things over with. It’s also about us sharing knowledge and skills that they may be missing. It’s quite common for small business owners in the Cook Islands to be fantastic at whatever it is they do, whatever it is that their company is based around, but not so adept at accounting, marketing and developing the company. Once they have mastered those additional tools, it enables them to really move forwards.’

Another New Zealand Business Mentor, Terry Gillespie notes that while feedback so far has been encouraging, there is still a long way to go.

‘This is only the first year of the programme, and only the second meeting with the clients we started out with,’ says Terry. ‘I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of an impact this initiative will have on the Cook Islands in the longer term. I think it will do an awful lot of good, both for the economy, local communities and families, and the owner operators running these businesses.’

‘It’s fantastic to see that more Cook Island businesses are taking notice of the Pacific Mentoring programme and recognising that it can help them achieve their goals.,’ adds Terry. ‘So far this year, around 60 have applied and we’re planning on making extra mentoring slots available next year so even more businesses can take advantage of the free service.’

The Pacific Business Mentoring Programme, which was launched earlier this year, aims to assist small and medium sized businesses in the Pacific to manage and grow their businesses in a way that supports sustained increases in production and employment over time. It is hoped the programme will be a catalyst for identifying other business needs such as training, and create opportunities for partnerships and joint ventures, and increased Pacific exports, including to New Zealand.

Countries benefiting from the BMNZ Pacific Islands Mentoring Programme include the Cook Islands, Tonga, Samoa, Niue, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, Kiribati and Tuvalu, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Tokelau.

For more information on the BMNZ Pacific Islands Mentoring Programme visit


SUB Football, the seven a side brand of summer soccer which is already played by thousands of people in New Zealand, has started to gain a foothold in Australia. The sport has been picked up in Melbourne with around 240 individuals playing.

SUB Football, which was invented by Aucklander Bill Davies in 1998, is a summer sport, with seven players on the field and an unlimited number of substitutes. Competitions are held for mixed teams in Australia. In a mixed team, the goalkeeper may be male or female but no more than three male outfield players are permitted.

Shay Ferguson, who was recently recruited as SUB Football Venue Operations Manager for Melbourne believes that there is huge scope to develop the game in Australia.

‘It is early days for SUB Football in Australia but I think the growth potential is fantastic, both within Melbourne and throughout the rest of the country,’ says Shay. ‘It’s a unique, very inclusive sport that seems to appeal to all sorts of people from businesses to friends wanting to form teams together. The fact that men and women can play against each other or on the same team is also proving very popular. You don’t get that same level of diversity in most other sports.’

According to Shay, interest in the game is growing steadily.

‘Lots of people walk past the pitches when we’re playing at Fawkner Park and ask what’s going on and how they can get involved,’ explains Shay. ‘I think that will only continue to increase as we get into the summer season, which kicked off at the end of October, and start to do some more promotional work. It’s a hugely innovative, exciting concept and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for it in Australia.’

SUB Football is played on a pitch which measures 60 x 40 metres and games are 40 minutes duration. Players get three points for scoring in the main goal while hitting one of the sideboards is worth one point. There are four divisions, meaning that the game can cater to a wide range of ability, experience and fitness. The season runs until early March with a mid-season break between mid December and mid January.

For more information on SUB Football, visit


According to the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association cases of ‘text neck,’ a repetitive stress injury to the body from using hand held mobile devices such as mobile phones, portable gaming units, MP3 players and e-readers, could be on the rise in this country.

‘It is believed that when someone has their head flexed forward while looking down at the screen on their hand held mobile device for long periods of time, the bones and muscles of the spine adapt to that posture and functional changes ensue,’ explains Dr. Hayden Thomas, spokesman for the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association. ‘These changes in the curve, supporting ligaments, tendons, and musculature, as well as the bony segments can eventually lead to nerve involvement, muscle spasms and pain.’

‘With the ever rising prevalence of hand held mobile devices in this country, we are concerned that we are going to be seeing increasing numbers of people of all ages with headaches, neck pain, shoulder and arm pain, resulting from excessive strain on the spine from looking in a forward and downward position at mobile technology,’ adds Dr. Thomas.

The term was first coined in the United States by chiropractor, Dr. Dean Fishman. He noticed that more and more people were seeking evaluation and treatment of chief complaints consisting of headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain, arm pain, as well as numbness and tingling of the upper extremities. The one thing that all his patients had in common was that they used texting as the primary way to keep in touch with friends and family.

Fortunately, there are a number of things that can be done to lessen the chance of injury.
‘Handheld technology is an integral part of our lives now, whether it is for work purposes or to keep in touch with loved ones, and can’t be avoided all together,’ says Dr. Thomas. ‘However, there are changes that can be made so that they have less of a negative impact on overall health and wellness. For example, pay attention to posture when you are texting or looking at a handheld device. Hold your phone directly in front of your face while texting or reading emails to avoid bending your neck downward.

‘It’s also important to take regular breaks’, adds Dr. Thomas. ‘Doing any repetitive task for long periods of time without a break will only result in cramped, sore muscles and repetitive strain injuries. Make it a habit to stop regularly and give your body a chance to recover. A few small tweaks to how you use your mobile phone, MP3 player or e-reader could mean the world of
difference when it comes to the health and longevity of your spine, neck and muscles.’


Soul Beverages, a New Zealand owned soft drinks brand specialising in sophisticated non-alcoholic cocktails, is calling on partygoers to make the roads safer by looking after their designated drivers this Christmas. The company is also reminding hosts to make alternative `grown-up’ drink options readily available for drivers so they are encouraged to make the responsible choice.

Drink driving is still recognised as a serious problem in New Zealand, especially throughout the festive season. According to the Alcohol Advisory Council of New Zealand, 130 people die in a crash caused by a drink driver every year, and a further 2,000 are injured. There are around 30,000 drink driving convictions every year, and around 65 percent of these are first time offenders.

‘With all the summer barbeques and festive celebrations going on, it can be tempting to get carried away with the beers and wine and forget about the people that will be driving. However, if you are holding a party, it is important to ensure there are plenty of other drinks on hand for drivers,’ says Geoff Hunt, Managing Director of Soul Beverages. ‘Having a selection of juices, non-alcoholic wines and beers, and sophisticated, grown-up soft drinks available will make being the designated driver much more appealing and will also reduce the temptation of drinking and then getting behind the wheel.’

Geoff doesn’t believe that there enough grown-up non-alcoholic choices available for New Zealanders who don’t want to drink and thinks there would be many more individuals prepared to be the sober driver in their group if the range was wider.
‘At a lot of parties and bars, the usual choice a non-drinker can expect to make is between orange juice and cola,’ says Geoff. ‘These aren’t exciting options and often people feel excluded if they’re not sipping an interesting drink. If, on the other hand, they have a sophisticated looking drink in their hand, they are much less likely to feel left out socially. If the drink is a virgin cocktail presented in a long stemmed glass, no one else there will even realise they aren’t drinking alcohol.’

‘Designated drivers allow everyone to have a good time and arrive home safely,’ he adds. ‘They have a hugely important part to play in keeping our roads safe over Christmas and the rest of the year and it’s vital that they are treated with consideration and given every opportunity to enjoy the night as much as the people that are drinking alcohol. We need to take care of them so they will continue providing the priceless service that they do to the community.’

For more information on Soul Beverages, visit


With Diabetes Awareness Week taking place from 16-22 November 2010, Care Chemist, the country's fastest growing community pharmacy group, has launched a nationwide campaign to raise awareness and understanding of the disease. New Zealanders are being encouraged to visit their local Care Chemist with any questions or concerns they have around diabetes risk factors, while those who currently have diabetes will have access to advice on how to better manage the condition and their medication.

Care Chemists throughout the country will be involved in various activities to support diabetes awareness. Screening days, including blood glucose meter checks and blood pressure checks will be available at selected Care Chemists. A checklist will be available to customers to assess their risk factors for developing Type 2 Diabetes.

Information handouts from Diabetes New Zealand will be available in Care Chemists throughout November. Pharmacists will also be able to offer lifestyle tips and to answer any questions customers might have about their diabetes medication.

'The number of individuals with diabetes is increasing sharply especially among Maori and Pacific Island people. It is thought that by 2020 more than half a million New Zealanders will have diabetes, which will put an even greater strain on the New Zealand healthcare system. The community pharmacist is in an ideal position to play a vital role,' explains Care Chemist spokesperson, Kathy Maxwell. 'Unfortunately, Type 1 diabetes is not preventable but Type 2 diabetes can usually be staved off if people are aware of what can cause it. High blood pressure, being overweight and having diabetes in the family will all significantly increase the chance of an individual developing it themselves.'

'People can reduce their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by making a few healthy lifestyle changes,' says Kathy. 'For example, the type and amount of food you eat can play a big part in increasing or decreasing your diabetes risk. Choosing low-GI carbohydrate foods reduces the risk of diabetes while eating more high-GI foods, which lead to blood sugar spikes, increases the risk. Doing more exercise, drinking less alcohol, cutting down on sedentary activity and losing weight, especially around the waist will help. Quitting Smoking will also help prevent worsening of diabetes"

'Even when a person has diabetes, it can be controlled to a certain degree,' adds Kathy. 'Eating healthy foods in the right amounts, getting regular physical activity, taking diabetes medications as prescribed and testing blood sugar on a regular basis, will all make managing the condition much easier.


Care Chemist, New Zealand’s fastest growing community pharmacy group, has launched what is thought to be the country’s first online prescription reminder service, in a bid to improve medication compliance.

In a study last year, it was discovered that 28% of consumers sometimes forget to refill their prescriptions on time, and 52% said it would be useful if their pharmacy would remind them when it's time to refill. On top of that, 43% admitted that they occasionally forget to take their medication and 21% acknowledged being careless about taking drugs as prescribed.

According to Care Chemist spokesperson, Tania Adams, prescription adherence is a problem that can seriously impact a person’s health and result in unnecessary and costly treatments, such as hospital admissions, re-admissions, and surgeries

‘Non-compliance with a prescribed drug reduces or eliminates the positive effects of a medication,’ explains Tania. ‘As well as compromising a person’s health, not maintaining a medication plan can also mean more costs in the long run. New systems, such as the online prescription reminder service, will make medication management much simpler for both patient and pharmacist. It is far less likely that repeat prescriptions will be forgotten or picked up late.’

‘A reminder service will also reduce patient waiting time, allow better time management for pharmacists and reduce the likelihood of expired medicines not being identified,’ adds Tania.

The newly developed offering allows customers to register for the no cost prescription reminder service at When their prescription is next due for renewal, Care Chemist sends them a reminder email or SMS text message, prompting them to head over to their pharmacy to collect it. The system will email their chosen Care Chemist to ask them to make up the script so that they can then have it ready for collection at the pharmacy. Customers can also set up a reminder to go to the doctor to get a new prescription when they need one.

For more information on Care Chemist, visit