Rhonda Grant Rhonda Grant CREDIT: Miss Universe
Rhonda Grant Rhonda Grant CREDIT: Miss Universe

Science graduate a finalist in national beauty pageant

Tuesday 29 April 2008, 8:20PM
By Massey University

Former Massey student Rhonda Grant finished third in the Miss Universe New Zealand beauty pageant this month after being first runner-up in last year's Miss Manawatu contest.

Ms Grant, 22, will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in human nutrition next month and is continuing postgraduate studies at Massey extramurally while working full-time. After five years at the Palmerston North campus, she is working as a nutritionist for the National Heart Foundation based in Napier. Her job involves visiting schools to promote healthy diets and lifestyles.

She grew up in Paeroa and Havelock North, attending Havelock North High School, and is enjoying being back in Hawke's Bay but still regularly visits Palmerston North. "Massey was awesome, I loved it and I loved Palmy," she says. "I was there for the study but I really liked the social side of it and meeting lots of people."

She says she was attracted to the degree because she liked athletics, health "and my father's a mad-keen gardener. I enjoy looking after myself and other people." But she struggled with the biochemistry and chemistry papers and had to do some of them several times to pass. "I kept persevering with it because I really wanted that degree."

She also did several Maori studies papers while a full-time student and now plans to put those towards a postgraduate diploma in Maori development, which she will complete extramurally. Her early years at bilingual Paeroa Central School involved daily Te Reo lessons and kapa haka as well as regular marae visits.

"I decided to carry my Maori studies on at high school in Hawke's Bay and at university because I know how lucky I was to have that upbringing, and especially in my field of health and nutrition, how vital it is to have this knowledge. Having studied Maori has really helped open up many job opportunities in my life."