Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

Student news and events

Applause for young health researchers


Two recent School of Physiotherapy graduates presented their research findings in Rotorua in August.

physio_melissa gillespie and hui lin.NZMPA.2017Hui Lin (left) and Melissa Gillespie completed their Bachelors of Physiotherapy (Honours) degrees last year, and spoke at the New Zealand Manipulative Physiotherapists Association on the Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 August 2017.

Hui’s presentation to an eager audience of clinicians and researchers interested in manual therapy focussed on “Frequency of manual therapy for patients with knee osteoarthritis: what do physiotherapists think?

Melissa was awarded the “Best Conference Presentation” overall for her work on “Rotator cuff-related pain: patients’ understanding and experiences”. The award indicates that a very high standard of research and presentation has been reached.

This team presentation showcased recent research initiatives at the School of Physiotherapy, which seek to integrate and reflect the experiences of both physiotherapists’ and patients.

Well done, Melissa and Hui; and congratulations.

^ Top of page


Careers Day hums in Palmerston North

The Mid-Central Health Careers Day held recently in Palmerston North focused on local students interested in exploring career options in the health professions.

physio_students at palmerstonnorth.2A keen group of Year 4 School of Physiotherapy at Otago students based in Palmerston North as part of their clinical training took part in this DHB sponsored event, working with our locally based staffer Rebekah Higgs to welcome senior high school students from 8 schools in the region.

Our young physios talked about what new students might expect in the transition from school work to university, the unique student culture at Otago, and what the study of physiotherapy is really like.

Our students did an excellent job of representing the School, giving the wider Manawatu community a good clear picture of the critical part that physiotherapy plays in building healthier New Zealand communities.

^ Top of page


Proud Physios take trophy ... again

A report from proud trophy holder, 2017 PSA Sports Rep Cory Glover

Physio has several social sports teams running throughout the year and all of them are fully funded by our Physiotherapy Students Association or PSA.

physio_cory glover from PSA holds trophy 2017These teams play one week day each week for up to ten weeks against social teams made up of other faculties, flatmates and friends and this year we had teams competing in volleyball, netball, indoor football, and basketball. On paper, it is called ‘social sport’ but our sports rep knows there is really no such thing, especially because the School of Physiotherapy has never let the Inter-faculty Trophy slip from its hands in fourteen years.

This time our annual sports tournament again came down to the wire. Our netball team played on the thirty first of July and emerged undefeated, giving us the upper hand leading into the other three sports. Please note that this netball team was also undefeated throughout the social league.

Touch rugby on a Sunday morning saw a very small turnout for all four faculties but Physio came away with first equal with Med as both teams had four players turn up. I would say that this was poor form indeed from all concerned. We headed into indoor football after an undefeated social season so we were confident of success. That was until we saw Dentistry had pulled in many non-dentistry students to strengthen their team. Inevitably they came away with the points on goal differential. One more Physio goal would have seen us in top position.

Basketball saw an energetic team entered from Dentistry this year. Two points separated the final score line and overall we came a close second in the basketball division.

Most importantly, with two first places and two second places, Physio yet again lifts the trophy.

A huge turnout, with the exception of touch that is, was really what set us apart from the other faculties - proving that there is strength in numbers.

It really was a proud day for all.

^ Top of page


Making it all better at the Teddy Bear Hospital

The fear many younger children experience when visiting a hospital, doctor or dentist can be lessened by the friendly and familiar face of a much loved Teddy physio_teddy bear hospital staff 2017Bear.

The Teddy Bear Hospital is an international model, and physiotherapy students were welcomed by the OU Medical Student Association to join medical, dentistry and pharmacy students for the annual Teddy Bear Hospital on Saturday, 27th May, in the University of Otago’s Hunter Centre in Dunedin.

Our budding physiotherapists worked out a number of clever exercises suitable for tender Teddy Bears and these manipulations attracted much attention from their young humans. The bears themselves were also encouraged to complete an exercise circuit before seeing the “dentist” for a sore tooth or “doctor” for other real and imagined ailments.

Many parents, their youngsters and their treasured Teddy Bears were given close attention and a general improvement in the cheerfulness and wellness of all attendees has been noted.

You can read more about the day's events here at Corpus – a forum for conversations about medicine and life

^ Top of page


Community health and well-being key for students

Community health and well-being are touchstones for the profession of physiotherapy in New Zealand.

Inter-professional education now plays an important part within the Division of Health Sciences at Otago and the School of Physiotherapy, as it helps students to learn collaboration skills.physio_students gisborne colours 2017

Our year four physiotherapy students have been participants on an inter-professional education placement in the Tairāwhiti region on the North Island's east coast since 2010. Students live, work and play alongside dental, dietetic, nursing, medical, nursing, pharmacy, occupational therapy, and oral health peers and learn with, from and about each other.

They make a positive contribution to the health and wellbeing of the community, which is largely rural with a high percentage of Māori.

^ Top of page


Great turnout for cultural dinner at School of Physiotherapy

Arranged by the Physiotherapy Student Association team, the cultural dinner is a real highlight of the annual social calendar at the School of Physiotherapy.

Students and staff bring a favourite dish and get to share and compare menus and ideas from all corners of the globe.

This no - alcohol night with great cuisine and lively conversation is just one more reason to become a member of your PSA.

^ Top of page


Health Science first year information night a hit

physio_HSFY students at open evening

Some passers-by on campus at Otago learned recently that there is more to physiotherapy than the treatment of aches and sprains.

Alongside presentations by other schools and programmes, a keen group of physiotherapy students and a number of staff, were on hand to engage with and inform first year students and the general public about what physiotherapy can achieve and how it helps individuals, families and the wider community.

Huge thanks to all who helped out. It was fun, and we really could not have done it without you.

^ Top of page


Meet the new physiotherapy student executive

physio_student exec 2017 finalSix of the seven students who will make up the new executive for 2017 were introduced recently at the School. Here they are, from left to right:

Megan Webb - Cultural rep: Hosts cultural dinners for students and faculty to attend, sets up communication cafe where international students are buddied up with Kiwi students to work on their casual Kiwi-English language skills. Megan also keeps an eye on our international students and helps involve everyone in school life.

Mitchell Crooks and Asha Read - Social reps: Mitchell and Asha arrange all of the social gigs for the year; Orientation Camp, Flat Crawl, wine and cheese night, the Ball and other more random events.

Hayden Kilgour - Education rep: Students talk to Hayden about any educational concerns or feedback on the course. He also helps organise clinical uniforms and schedules first aid refreshers. He also plans a quiz night but is not allowed to write the questions.

Cory Glover - Sports rep: Helps to organise social sport, the Relay for Life and the Health Sciences Inter-faculty Sports competition which Physio wins every year ... but tied first with Dentistry last year.

Karla Van Der Walt - does a little bit of everything, helps write this page, and makes sure everything happens to schedule. Karla is student representative and talks with the Deans and Faculty on behalf of the students.

Aiden Toder (absent) - Treasurer: Aiden is our accountant and helps us pay for everything.

^ Top of page


Student orientation camp 2017

physio student summer camp 2017 Human Pyramid 2Orientation Camp this year was held at the sunny seaside town of Brighton, just south of Dunedin.

This annual student led camp was a great opportunity for students to meet each other and faculty in a relaxed setting. Here is a report from Student Executive member and camp organiser Karla Van Der Walt

“The annual orientation camp for new undergraduates joining the physiotherapy programme is always a lot of fun. This year’s camp was no exception. It was amazing to see the transformation in the sea of faces staring back at you when addressing the group throughout the camp. We started out with scattered groups of sheepish faces and mumbled replies, ending up with one big close knit group - tired, but laughing nonetheless. I loved being a part of running the camp this year. It really made the difference for our year when we joined the programme - allowing everyone to get to know each other and form the friendships that would strengthen throughout the year from working in closely together. I believe that physiotherapy requires you to work with others so you end up being one big family, where everyone looks out for you - students and faculty alike. It is refreshing to have team mates within the school who can help you toward the finish line. That is the goal of the orientation camp. To help our fellow students get to know each other and realise that there are people from so many different backgrounds entering the course and that everyone works together from here on in to get the best overall results - and to make some amazing lasting memories! It was terrific to see another year's intake of students embrace the friendly, cooperative and supportive nature of physiotherapy and its members - just like we did.

Welcome to the family, year 2 students!”

The always infamous human pyramid at Orientation Camp 2017

^ Top of page


Highlights of 2016 

Gemma Alchin-Grey (School of Physiotherapy, Student Executive President 2016)

  • This year we celebrated World Physiotherapy Day by holding a massage fundraiser with all proceeds going to the Otago Multiple Sclerosis Society. Thirty students volunteered their time throughout the day to help raise $520. Awesome effort!

  • The Physiotherapy Great Gatsby 2016 Ball was held on Saturday the 10th of September at The Savoy. A brilliant evening, with 200 Second and Third Year students there on the night.

  • The 2016 Inter-faculty Sports Tournament was held over two weekends in September. Physiotherapy students battled it out against Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmacy students in basketball, touch rugby, football and netball. In the history of this tournament Physio has triumphed every year, but unfortunately we will have to learn how to share the trophy as this year we came first equal with Dentistry.

  • With speeches completed and votes counted, the 2017 President of the Physiotherapy Students’ Association and new executive members have been announced. The 2016 and 2017 teams went out for dinner for a formal hand over. 

^ Top of page