Tira Phillipson-Puna is turning his love of sport into a promising career.
“I enjoyed sport from a very young age and I’m interested in how the body works. I really wanted to go to university so when Otago came to my school in Christchurch and outlined the options I decided Otago was the place to go.
“I’ve always played rugby and wanted to do exercise. When I looked at the subjects Otago was offering and saw the exercise and nutrition programme I thought that was the best one to help me get into that field.
“These days sport and nutrition go hand in hand. What you feed the body feeds your performance. Without good nutrition you can’t have good sports performance. I thought the mixture of the two would be the best way to launch a career in sport.”
Tira enrolled to study for a Bachelor of Applied Science in Sport and Exercise Nutrition.
“The Māori Centre was very helpful, offering tutorials and giving me a good kickstart into university life. They definitely helped me in getting my degree.
“Otago gave me everything I needed academically. They certainly did well to prepare me for what was to come by teaching the skills you need in the field. They also offered early work experience and opportunities to do internships.”
Tira’s supervisor helped him land an internship with the Blues Super Rugby franchise in Auckland, where his background in sport and nutrition was a perfect fit.
“I used what I learned at Otago. They prepared me for what I needed to do, and also taught research skills and analysis, which you need to keep on top of changing information in the nutrition field.”
Tira’s now advancing his knowledge of sport nutrition with a Master of Applied Science. “Otago provides great opportunities to break into fields you want to be in. If you’re thinking of studying, just do it.”