Grassroots – A Club like No Udder

Grassroots is the University of Auckland Rural Health Club.

If you’re a Nursing, Medicine, Optometry, Pharmacy, Medical Imaging, or Audiology student at UoA, you can join us!

We are all about promoting rural health and rural health careers. We put on awesome educational, sporting and social events which showcase what rural life has to offer those in the health field.

Our events are geared not just towards rural students – everyone is encouraged to get a taste of what rural healthcare entails.  So get involved and go hard. Rural Health. Hard.

Make sure to like us on Facebook – Grassroots Rural Health Club

Follow us on Instagram –

Meet the team:

Blair Lowry


My name is Blair Lowry and I am the President of Grassroots Rural Health Club for 2020! You can find me in the mighty Waikato as a 4th year medical student trying to keep up with the fast pace of the hospital environment. With the limited exposure of what a career in rural health entails throughout your health professional training, Grassroots provides many opportunities to discover what a career in rural health encompasses and disprove some of the myths around rural communities. Part of this is why I have loved being involved with Grassroots, and encourage you all to get amongst the amazing experiences that we offer – especially the Rural Schools Trips! I look forward to seeing you all around 🙂


Kate Dunstall

Communications Officer

Kia ora koutou katoa!

I’m your Communications Officer for 2021! (I’m the one in the middle in the blue dress) My role was rebadged from Vice President External and my goal is to strengthen the communications between Grassroots and other organisations such as SoRHA, RGPN, and AUMSA. I’m also in charge of online presence, so go like us on Facebook and Instagram! I was previously one half of the 2020 Māori and Pacific Advocacy Reps and will use my experience in this role to continue promoting rural and Māori health and health careers.

I’m originally from Waihi in the Coromandel, then spent 3 years in Dunedin doing my undergrad as a BSc in Psychology and Māori Studies. I am now a 4th year med student. I’m doing my placement in Waikato Hospital for my 4th year and am super excited to start clinical work!

I have loved my time on the Grassroots Exec so far, so I am super excited for another year of getting amongst it! I would highly recommend going on the trips we run to rural areas and getting involved with events we organise!

Theresa Mclean


Kia Ora!

I grew up in the Rotorua, making my whānau the townies of our extended family

I think I’ll end up working somewhere with lots of green and sheep, and I want to help promote that! We need health care professionals that can relate to people living in smaller places, whether it’s due to being regional too, or through the education and experiences that organisations like Grassroots provide.

My parents grew up in farming communities in Otakiri in the BOP and the Catlins. Lots of my family are still there, and I want the quality of care that they receive to be as good as anywhere else. This year I’m treasurer, so hit me up if you have any great ideas to entice more students from the regions to join us at Grafton, promote rural health, or do something fun and I’ll chuck the cash your way!

R2 grassroots bio image

Rebecca Veitch & Renee Thumma

Social Reps

Kia Ora,
We’re Rebecca and Renee, aka R^2 and we are stoked to be your Grassroots Social Reps for 2019! Now third year medical students, we both grew up in Rotorua and spent 3 years down in Otago so have plenty of experience under our belts to get some rowdy rural steins underway. We’re both amped to increase the excitement around rural health and get all of the FMHS students involved – what better way to do so than socialising!!!

Remember, as six60 would say “dont forget your GRASSroots my friend” 😉 Strap yourselves in cause we’ve got some exciting stuff planned, she’s looking like a wild one – yeah the grassroots!


Morgen Morrogh, LJ Guevarra & Amanda Denize

Nursing Reps

New Zealand has myriads of small communities spread over substantial areas, with limited access to medical centres and support teams. Often these communities depend all
dimensions of their health on only a few nurses which is dangerous  practice to both the nurses and patients. And so, our role as the nursing reps is to encourage nursing students to contribute their knowledge and skills to the development of New Zealand rural health.

Especially, we do not get a lot of exposure to rural health in our programme. Nurses are vital
in rural health with their unique, holistic and therapeutic approach to health, which is
essential if trust is to develop between the community and healthcare team.


Maral Ghamkhar & Sophie Thomas

Audiology Reps

Kia ora! We’re Maral and Sophie and we’re super excited to be the first Audiology Grassroots reps in 2021!

We’re both in our second year of our Master of Audiology degree. Maral studied a Bachelor of Health Science and Sophie studied a Bachelor of Science at the University of Auckland prior to our postgrad studies.

Although we’re both Aussies, we’re fully committed to our roles as advocates for rural health opportunities throughout New Zealand; Sophie grew up in the Waikato and Maral finished high school in Palmerston North. Due to the short duration of our course (it’s a 2 year degree!), our cohort hasn’t had the chance to fully explore the audiology services within rural communities in the past. This is why we’re stoked to be a part of Grassroots; we hope that our roles will allow us to integrate more rural opportunities as part of our programme, while also connecting with our peers in other health professional degrees within the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences.

Bring on 2021!!


Victoria Murphy

Taranaki Site Rep

Hi, I’m Victoria, and I’d love to convince you to go NAKI HARDCORE!

I’m in my 5th year of MBChB, third year of Grassroots, and very happy to be placed in Taranaki at long last. Finally I can be around the sheep I love without having to walk to Cornwall Park, and enjoy swimming and surfing in the freezing cold beaches of the West Coast! We at Grassroots can’t wait to bring you the perfect combination of rowdy rural events and educational awareness of community rural health needs that GRHC provides 🥰

If you’re interested in Taranaki for your 5th year and TI placements please hit me up for a weekend visit! (yes it may involve crashing at my nans house).

Nicola-Mary Geraghty


Kia ora koutou. My name is Nicola-Mary or Nicky-for-short. 

I hail from Ohakune, at the foot of the beautiful maunga, Ruapehu. I am absolutely stoked to be the 2021 VP for Grassroots.

Rural communities are what makes Aotearoa unique yet they are so often forgotten about in education and health. The obstacles that rural communities face need our help because we can empower others to see that going rural is satisfying, worthwhile and immensely important.

This year I am excited to be placed in Waikato hospital because I’ve been in Auckland too long! However, I’m going to remain as connected as possible to our amazing exec. The team has gotten bigger and I’m over the moon that we are facilitating some interfaculty networking at Grafton.


Pooja Bhatt


Kia ora koutou,

My name is Pooja, I am a 3rd-year medical student, and I am thrilled to be your Grassroots secretary for 2021!

I was born in India where I spent most of my childhood in a big city however as my parents are from small rural towns of India, I had some exposure to the rural community. At the age of 10, I then migrated to New Plymouth in Taranaki. I then moved down to Dunedin where I completed my undergraduate degree in Public Health in which I gained valuable knowledge around Māori, Pacific and Rural Health.

Growing up in Taranaki has given me great insight onto what it is like to be part of a rural community and I would love to share my knowledge and experiences with others through Grassroots.

My job as a secretary is to oversee administrative details, keeping clear accurate records of Grassroots, and communicate regularly with our talented Grassroots exec and people from the wider community. I am looking forward to meeting you all through our amazing events this year and working with the Grassroots exec.

Kate Dunstall & Tajpreet Padda

Māori and Pacific Advocacy Rep

Kia ora, Talofa lava, Malo e lelei!

We are Taj and Kate and we are your Māori and Pasifika reps for 2020. Kate grew up in Waihi in the Coromandel, and Taj comes from Napier, in Hawkes Bay.

We’re both third year medical students who are very excited to be part of the 2020 Grassroots team. Having grown up on the hills of Havelock North (Taj) and Waihi (Kate), we’ve both had a classic rural upbringing. We both have a deep understanding of what it is like to live in a rural community and we want to combine our personal experiences with our knowledge and support others in their learning of rural health inequities among Māori and Pacific people. Something we are mutually passionate about is increasing the cultural competence of our cohort and getting people involved and excited about Rural health Māori/Pasifika health.

Nader Ghamri & Nicola-Mary Geraghty

Education Reps

Dayna and Briaan

Briaan Brown-Sharpe & Dayna Smith


Kia ora!

We are Briaan and Dayna and we are very excited to be your RRAS reps for 2021!!

Briaan is from a small town in the Manawatu called Marton and loves everything outdoors from hiking to rollerblading. Dayna grew up in rural Whanganui and enjoys anything on the water from surfing to fishing. We are both Otago graduates so while we know how to focus on our studies we appreciate a cheeky fizz up!!!

This year we aim to support phase 2 rural and regional students in their courses ensuring they excel academically and also feel included and comfortable in Auckland and the university environment. We are looking forward to hosting tutorial evenings, social events and support groups.

We are advocates for rural/regional health in New Zealand and we want to encourage others to be involved in this area! Keep an eye out for us on Grafton Campus and at social events we would love to meet you!!!!


Jasmine Feng

Optometry Rep

Hey guys. My name is Jasmine and I am the grassroots optometry rep and am currently in final year Optometry. Being part of grassroots, I hope I can bring more awareness/experience of rural health into health professional programs, particularly optometry, whilst also helping out the rural communities.


Cam Hayes & William Bramley

Welfare and Sports Reps

Howdy Howdy let’s get rowdy! We’re Will and Cam, your Grassroots Sports and Welfare reps for 2020. We can’t wait for ewe to get amongst our events this year, we’ve got Huuuuggeee plans for 2020. But first let us introduce ourselves, Will is from the mighty Waikato town of Taumaranui and Cam is from the deep south hailing from Timaru (Ts up!!!). Both of us are postgrads from Otago uni so we know how to bring some fizz, bloody oath to sesh rigs and billys (in proportion though we do care about your welfare haha). Another thing that unites us is that we are really passionate about rural health and we want to install that passion into you guys! So get amongst our events for 2020 and “GET IN BEHIND” rural heath like the good sheep dog you are 😉


Rhea Colaabavala

Pharmacy Rep

Kia ora everyone 🙂

I’m Rhea, a third year pharmacy student and the 2021 Pharmacy Grassroots rep. I hail from the beautiful rural town of Whanganui (NOT to be confused with Whangarei). Growing up, I have seen first hand some of the disparities that exist between rural and urban health.

I hope to continue the mahi to educate the students at FMHS about the possibilities within rural health careers. Pharmacy is no exception to this and it has proven to be a rapidly evolving health profession. In particular, rural pharmacist scopes have continued to widen in order to keep up with the demand for accessible healthcare in remote areas.

This year, I am extremely excited to be able to spread the grassroots kaupapa and get more pharmacy students engaged with rural events and opportunities!

Nellie Cameron

Bay of Plenty Rep

Míša Rektorysová

Pukawakawa Rep