Kia Ākina

Working towards lifelong recovery from obesity

More About Us

Kia Ākina is a Māori phrase which literally means “be supported and encouraged”. Encouragement and support from others in the network, “fellow travellers”, is the main reason for the community to exist. Kia Ākina is a safe and positive place for people with obesity to gain awareness and motivation to undertake personal experiments with their lifestyle, while working towards recovery from obesity.

Kia Ākina originally grew out of some research conducted at the National Addiction Centre (NAC), University of Otago, Christchurch, where researchers were exploring the concept of ‘food addiction’.  For over 10 years this research has helped to guide the ongoing development of Kia Ākina and has focussed on better understanding obesity and how to help people recover from obesity.

Kia Ākina has benefited from hearing the experiences and insights of many of the participants of the NACs research studies which involved many current members of the Kia Ākina network.

In 2017 the Kia Ākina Charitable Trust was formed. This registered charitable trust (CC55221) is governed by a board of trustees and holds the overall responsibility of managing and developing the Kia Ākina network.

Members of the board include:

Doug Sellman: Board Chair

DougDoug is a psychiatrist and addiction medicine specialist who holds a professorial position at the University of Otago, Christchurch. He has worked in the addiction treatment field since 1985 and in more recent years has extended this work to involve food addiction/obesity. He was the principal investigator of a randomized controlled trial of Kia Ākina using the Green Prescription as a control which showed a positive weight-loss result for Kia Ākina. Although Doug has never been obese, he has several morbidly obese close relatives, and became significantly overweight in mid-life. Over four years he lost 16kg (20% of body weight), and subsequently wrote a book “Real Weight Loss” describing the method he used and the struggle he engaged in. For over a decade now he remains 16kg lighter through daily practice beginning with a morning weigh-in.

Lesley Te Maiharoa-Sykes: Treasurer

LesleyKey message ….Persist – “Fall down seven times, get up eight”

Lesley was raised in Glenavy and is of Waitaha, Ngati Rarua and Ngai Tahu descent. She is active in her Waitaha iwi and is the secretary of the Waitaha Taiwhenua o Waitaki Trust. She is a director and secretary on the Te Runanga o Waihao Holding Company.  Lesley has been involved with Kia Ākina since 2010. Lesley works as a fees administrator for Ryman Healthcare.

Angela Hart: Minutes Secretary

Tracy Carter: General Secretary

Chantall Alberts

Chantal 1Kia Ora koutou,

My name is Chantall, I’ve been a member of Kia Ākina since April 2016. I have loved the mutual support and encouragement and it has helped me immensely in my journey, losing over 35 kilos to date. Everyone’s path is different and with Kia Ākina you don’t have to walk it alone, as long as you’re walking!

Allamanda Faatoese

AllamandaTalofa! My name is Allamanda Faatoese. I have been involved with Kia Ākina since 2010. Kia Ākina is an encouraging, friendly support group. Everyone is in the same waka/va’a/vaka/canoe on the same journey of being a healthier person. One size does not fit all, so I experimented with small changes until I found ones that worked for me, and that I could keep doing for the rest of my life. Kia Ākina has helped me to lose weight slowly, keep it off over a long period of time and become a healthier me.

Lisa Andrews