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Tongan Food Scientist – Dr. Palatasa Havea shared his challenging story – a steppingstone for his success

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 16/03/2017

The Tongan believed to be the first Scientist in Food – Dr. Palatasa Havea from Vava’u, also known as Tasa – shared his story and challenges he went through on Stuff New Zealand.

Dr. Palatasa Havea, said as a young kid his interest in science was more in the relationship with nature because he was doing a lot of fishing and looking after animals on their family farm.

The senior research scientist at the Fonterra Research and Development Centre (FRDC), has advised the New Zealand government on multiple policy issues involving the Pacific Islands, and is a prominent church and community leader. And for good measure, he’s played a key role in pioneering the use of protein in a variety of products that are returning hundreds of millions of dollars to the New Zealand economy.

That’s an inspiring achievement for a guy who took three years to get through Year 10 (fourth form) and only learnt to read properly in his last year of high school. 

However, after his secondary school education, he joined the Tonga Commodities which was responsible for marketing local farmer’s produce.

He won a scholarship to study at Massey University in Palmerston North on a food technology degree.

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