Grassroots – A Club like No Udder

Grassroots is the University of Auckland Rural Health Club.

If you’re a Nursing, Medicine, Optometry or Pharmacy 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


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 🙂

Theresa Mclean

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!


Isaac Teng

Vice President External

Hey Folks,

I’m your Vice President External for 2020!
My role was rebadged from Communications Officer and my goal is to liaison between Grassroots and external companies such as SoRHA. I also manage the website and emails so I’ll be winging it as IT guru for 2020. I was previously one half of the 2019 Education Rep and hope to bring my experiences to the role improving on inequitable access of students interested in rural health to ensure everyone has a chance to check out the grassroots life.

I hail from the mighty Manawatu but migrated from Singapore in the 90s. I spend most weekends outdoors mainly terrified kayaking down a river avoiding rocks and inhaling water when I fail. However, I do mountain bike and tramp when that isn’t possible

I’ll be pesting the halls of Middlemore Hospital for my 4th year and I look forward to getting involved with Grassroots again this year!

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.

Victoria Murphy and Vanamali

Rural Schools Visit

Victoria and Vanamali are the Grassroots School Trips Coordinators for 2020.

Growing up in the small village of central Auckland, Victoria spent a lot of her spare time frollicking in the grass, and making daisy chains.Victoria`s passion for education, and the outdoor life led her to Rod Jackson’s Pophlth 111 classes. Here, Victoria learn about the vast inequities of health outcomes in rural populations, and her passion for rural life developed. After finishing a term as Vice-President External, Victoria is aiming for Grassroots School Trips Coordinator to be one of the reasons she receives the Nobel Peace Prize in the Future.

Vanamali, on the other hand, grew up in the megalopolis of Whangarei. Despite the urban setting, Vanamali love for sport and education was cultured through the prestigious institute of Whangarei Boys` High School. It was there here learn the true meaning of “the brotherhood”, a community stronger than bond between families. Coming from his previous role as Treasurer, which allowed all the students of Grassroots to “send it!”, Vanamali has big aspirations for schools trips. He aims to have the mana of Whangarei spread throughout NZ by talking to the tamariki.

Esther is the captain marvel of the whole operation. Without her, Victoria and Vanamali couldn`t do anything. With her superhuman powers, Esther from NZGPN ties the whole thing together. She`s so good, in fact, she got Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to fund the whole damn thing.(no joke). She is the bread to the Grassroots School Trips Sandwich.

With Esther’s help, Victoria and Vanamali should be able to deliver exposure to the clinical environment to over 2000 kids from all over the North Island. Wow. Now that’s what I call impact.

Don Laing

Vice-President Internal

Kia Ora Whanau. My name is Don Laing and I am this year’s Vice President Internal of Grassroots Rural Health Club. Currently, I am completing honour’s research in Middlemore Hospital Neonatal Unit but don’t let that fool you I’m a rural guy through and through. I became involved in Grassroots for a number of reasons but what continues to drive me is the fact that rural communities are being forgotten from a health standpoint. There is currently a shortage of rural doctors which is only going to worsen with the impending retirement of forty-percent of general practitioners by 2025. With this will come worse health outcomes and increased need in rural communities. I want to be on the forefront of helping find a resolution for this problem while also empowering others to help in ways that they feel possible. Nga Mihi, Don Laing.


Ashley Potter


My name is Ashley and I am so excited to be your Grassroots Secretary for 2020! I was raised in Maraetai, which translates to meeting place by the sea, so spent most of my childhood relaxing in, on or around the ocean! If not at the beach, you could find me walking my dog, feeding the lambs at Omana (our regional park) or down at Te Puru grounds playing touch rugby! This fantastic upbringing has given me a slight taste of what rural living is like and made moving into the city all the more challenging, which is why I’m so passionate about this amazing organisation and getting involved in awesome causes like promoting rural health and helping the transition between rural areas and city living.

Kate Dunstall & Tajpreety Padda


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



Jamie Struthers & Hannah Corban


Kia ora koutou! We’re Hannah and Jamie and we’re stoked to be your RRAS reps in 2020.

Hannah hails from the far off town of Auckland, but thankfully isn’t a total noob to rural life as she spends lots of time with her dad’s family in the Waikato. Jamie is from a wee place in Northland called Paihia and loves anything related to being out on the water.

Our key focus is to support our Year 2 & 3 rural medical students to excel in their course, which looks like tutorials, free food, social events and more! We’re really keen to see our generation of doctors help to change the negative stats that are prominent in rural communities and want to see everyone become an advocate for rural health. Keep an eye out for us around Grafton campus and come say hi 🙂


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 😉

Vida Bojović

Pharmacy Rep

Kia Ora, my name is Vida and I’m the 2020 Grassroots rep for Pharmacy.

As a member of Grassroots , my aim is to provide opportunities for students to get more involved in rural health. This is particularly important as there is a role for all health professionals within a rural setting, however, often through our programmes we don’t get much exposure to what this entails.

There are over 900 pharmacies in New Zealand, many of which are located rurally. Due to increased demand and GP shortages in these settings, the scope of practice for rural pharmacists is developing which is really exciting. Some rural pharmacists are involved in things like prescribing and mobile medicines management, and without a doubt, the future will bring even more opportunities.

This year I want to do my part to encourage Pharmacy students to get involved in all the awesome things Grassroots has to offer!

Nellie Cameron

Bay of Plenty Rep

Míša Rektorysová

Pukawakawa Rep