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From left to right: Dr Natasha Flack, PhD candidate Courteney Westlake, and Dr Rebecca Bird with some of the many tauira care packages.

Two Department of Anatomy academics have gone beyond the lecture theatre to ensure their tauira are ready for exams.

Dr Rebecca Bird and Dr Natasha Flack wanted to support students during the challenging exam time in a way that would be practically meaningful to them, so set to work fundraising and organising donations of food to make up care packages.

They raised $1,700 and have distributed more than 140 food-based packages.

Dr Bird says they are thrilled to be able to help in a meaningful way.

With the support of the Department’s Equity, Diversity and Belonging Committee, the two academics asked staff to donate either money or non-perishable food items to help create care packages which would contain at least one full meal for a student.

“The Te Whatu Ora website had some fantastic ‘Meal in Minutes’ recipes we followed, and the money donated enabled us to purchase some fresh vegetables to add to our packages, ensuring the meals were as well-rounded as possible”, Dr Flack says.

“We ended up with everything from pasta dishes through to nacho meal kits, but an absolute highlight for the students was the portion of freshly grated cheese they received.”

The initiative was timed to take place before the start of exams and will be continuing in a new form during the exam period called ‘Toast Breakfasts’.

Quintin Jane profile
OUSA President Quintin Jane encourages students to take breaks and go for walks during the busy exam season.

Starting at the end of October, Dr Flack and Dr Bird will shift the direction of the care packages initiative towards coordinating breakfasts for tauira to attend before each of the six departmental exams.

“Students have also communicated to the Anatomy whānau that sometimes they don’t eat before attending their exams,” Dr Flack says.

“We hope providing some cereal, yogurt, toast, spreads, juice and hot drinks, will fill them enough so they can put their best foot forward during what is no doubt a stressful time for them.”

Dr Bird says that seeing the appreciation from students for the care packages was humbling, and she has no doubt the ‘Toast Breakfasts’ initiative will be received in the same way.

OUSA President Quintin Jane shared this sentiment, saying that exams can be a really difficult time and that the OUSA is also here to help.

“The OUSA Student Support Centre on Ethel-Benjamin place is here for whatever you need,” Jane says.

“We also provide care packages, can help you navigate the special-consideration process, or simply provide an ear to listen and some advice.”

He also encouraged students to remember to check in on their mates and take a break from studying to look after their mental health.

- Kōrero by the Division of Health Sciences Communications Adviser, Kelsey Schutte.

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