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The Te Tai Poutini Interprofessional Education Programme (IPE) began in 2021, and is modelled on a similar established programme based in Tairāwhiti. The programme brings up to 11 senior students together from a range of health disciplines, to learn about, with and from each other while gaining clinical experience in rural New Zealand.

The programme runs in 5 rotations of 5 week blocks with students in their home clinical placement for 3 days with a further half day either in their own discipline or shadowing another discipline. The remaining day and a half are a mix of IPE project work, classroom, reflection and activities that showcase the West Coast, highlight rurality and foster team development.

In addition, the students live in shared accommodation so there are many opportunities for informal interprofessional learning. The cost of the accommodation is provided by the programme for the 5 weeks, with one return trip funded for each student from their main clinical location.

The programme is administered by the University of Otago, partnering with Te Whatu Ora and private practices for placements within Greymouth and Hokitika, and with Te Pūkenga (Otago Polytechnic, Ara and NMIT ), University of Auckland, University of Canterbury and Auckland University of Technology ( AUT ) to provide students from the following disciplines:

  • Dentistry
  • Dietetics
  • Medicine
  • Midwifery
  • Nursing
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Oral Health
  • Paramedicine
  • Pharmacy
  • Physiotherapy
  • Speech Language Therapy

Block dates for 2024

  • Block 1: 25 February to 28 March 2024
  • Block 2: 28 April to 31 May 2024
  • Block 3: 30 June to 2 August 2024
  • Block 4: 18 August to 20 September 2024
  • Block 5: 6 October to 8 November 2024


Key learning objectives incorporate principles of: Interprofessional health care, Hauora Māori, long term condition management and rural health care. Students also meet discipline specific clinical learning objectives.

Interprofessional health care

The focus is on growing greater understanding between health disciplines about patient-centred collaborative practice, effective teamwork, interprofessional respect and how to effectively resolve disagreement.

“Interacting with several different health professional fields gave me a greater appreciation for how multi-faceted patient care can be.

Hauora Māori

To better meet Māori health needs by working with Māori in culturally safe and respectful ways; enhancing understanding within Māori models of healthcare.

“I learned that connectedness is key towards building an effective working relationship with Māori.

Long term condition management

The students gain insight into the challenges people face living with multiple long-term conditions in a rural environment. They will increase their understanding of the importance of team-based collaborative care, self-management and the role patients and whānau play in the management of their conditions.

Rural health care

Students will develop an understanding of the characteristics of rural communities, including the benefits and challenges of living rurally, and gain knowledge into the impacts of this on access to healthcare. It is hoped that these opportunities will enhance their understanding of rural environments, the people who live here and the advantages rural living and working offer. Ultimately, we aim to better equip senior health students for comprehensive generalist practice, whatever their profession.


Most Fridays the programme arranges for students to visit local businesses or attractions to give the students an appreciation of the West Coast and an opportunity to bond. In addition, students are encouraged to make the most of the West Coast over the weekends, with students often taking the chance to visit the glaciers or ‘go bush’ and head off for a tramp.

  • Group

    Ziplining in Hokitika.

  • Five

    Students at the shared accommodation.

  • Midwifery

    Midwifery student shadowing with the St John Ambulance team.

More information


Udara Wickramasinghe
Programme Manager/Lead Administrator
Mob +64 21 279 1146

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