Our Events

Check out our Facebook and Instagram to stay notified of dates for these annual events.

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Freshers: Grassroots Rural Olympics

Our Grassroots Social Reps attend orientation events for both second year Medical and Pharmacy students at the beginning of Semester 1 to put on the annual Grassroots Rural Olympics!  This involved challenges with a rural flavour (i.e gumboots and lots of mud) and was a great opportunity to show these students what Grassroots is all about. One of our messier challenges is the food scrap sock wrestle!
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Freshers: Pharmacy Camp

Pharmacy second years packed into a bus and headed north for a three day camp hosted by @apsa.insta on the beautiful Matakana coast 🌾 On second day, the highly anticipated Rural Olympics was run by the Pharmacy Grassroots rep @rhea__c. This event encouraged students to break out of their comfort zones in order to score points for their team. Activities included apple bobbing, greasy pig, slip n’ slide fear factor and everyone’s favourite, sock scrap wrestling! Overall, camp was a fantastic way to kick off the mid-semester break and create bonds between all pharmacy cohorts 💊

Goodfellow Symposium 2021

At the start of the year, Grassroots were stoked to be able to organise for 7 medical and nursing students to attend the prestigious Goodfellow Symposium over the weekend of March 27-28th online.
This was an awesome opportunity for our students to learn about a variety of topics and gain an appreciation for what a future in General Practice and Nurse Practitioning may look like. A huge thank you to Professor Bruce Arroll and the Goodfellow Unit for making this opportunity possible for the students. Since the conference was online this year here’s a throwback from pre-Covid times when we could attend in person.

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National Rural Health Conference 2021

In April 2021 a group of students attended the National Rural Health Conference in Taupō with Grassroots. With a collaboration with SoRHA about 50 students attended the conference. The conference consisted of 2 days of presentations, posters and pop-up stalls for attendees to interact with medical companies, allowing students to learn about rural health and the opportunities available. Students left feeling inspired and excited for the future! Two of our students, Kate Dunstall and William Bramley got their poster abstract accepted to present a poster titled “Noho Marae as an Immersive Cultural Experience for Students of Health Professions” presenting the qualitative data gained from our Ngāwhā Rural Māori Health Hui in 2020. Ka Rawe!
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Rural Health Week 2021

This August we had the opportunity to bring back Grassroots’ biggest event of the year, the legendary Rural Health Week! This included our very first Rural Careers Fair, which showcased the various health programmes the university has to offer, from a rural perspective. We were lucky enough to have Dr Annette Beautrais return to host the annual Suicide Prevention Workshop, and our Māori and Pacific Advocacy reps hosted an awesome Cook Island Māori Whakawhanaungatanga. For the first time in several years, we teamed up with the folks at NZOEG to bring back the sorely missed Casting Workshop. To top it off, our club hosted a sausage sizzle and, to make things more exciting, hired a mechanical bull for students to ride on the front courtyard! If you missed out on that bull-ride, there was another one waiting for you at Friday’s Knees Up Stein. Thanks to all our sponsors who made it possible for us to give away a ton of free ice-cream and drink throughout the week, and thanks to all the students who got amongst our events 😊 See you all next year!

Knees Up Stein

On the 6th of August Grassroots held our annual Knees Up Stein. After a one-year hiatus, we were adamant on making this one a night to be remembered. Undoubtedly, it was a fun night that we definitely had a good time at. It was amazing to see everyone bring their rural cheer, dressed up to impress. But what was even more impressive was everyone’s bull riding abilities – it was truly the (ex?) – horse girls night to shine! We hope you had fun and got to meet some cool people from other faculties that also have a passion for rural health. We can’t wait to see you at next years Knees Up!

Ngāwhā Rural Māori Health Hui – Northland 2020

We took 28 students to a noho marae (overnight stay) at Ngāwhā Marae near Kaikohe. Our students participated in a variety of experiences, exposing them to health in the area and facilitating discussions with local health professionals and tāngata whenua (local people). 
On arrival we were greeted by the tāngata whenua and invited onto the marae with a pōwhiri (welcoming ceremony). For many students this was their first time experiencing a pōwhiri ceremony. We then headed over to Hokianga Health where we had a pōwhiri to welcome us into the hospital and had a kōrero (talk) about health in the area. Hokianga Health is a very unique facility in the fact that they provide a secondary hospital and primary healthcare facility in the same space. They have also incorporated rongoā māori (traditional treatment) to patients alongside their normal western treatments. They report that rongoā māori has had a successful uptake amongst the community and the patients have found this form of care very beneficial and appropriate for their needs. In the evening we went to the healing waters at the Ngāwhā Springs to relax and heal the wairua (spirit). These springs are natural, geothermal hot springs and have different mineral content making each pool good for treating different ailments. 
On the second day we headed over to Northland College for an interactive session with 50 year 10 students. We did a presentation covering different pathways into health careers and a vast array of career options within the health field. We then split up into smaller groups and taught the students some skills at different stations including blood pressure, CPR, auscultation, dressings and reflexes. By the end of the session the students were really engaged and were asking us some quality questions about health careers. We then headed back to the marae and went to have a look around at the St. Michaels Church in Ōhaeawai. Matua Albert met us at the urupā (cemetery) there and took us hiking up the mountain nearby. We had guest speakers Rose Lightfoot, former CEO of Te Tai Tokorau, and Hemaima Reihana, from Mahitahi Hauora come to the marae to speak with us that evening. They shared their experiences from working in the Northland area and highlighted some of the challenges the communities in Northland face regarding access to healthcare. Dr. Grahame Jelley arrived in the evening for an overnight stay. Dr. Jelley is a rural GP based in Kerikeri, and is originally from rural Zimbabwe. He told us all about his experiences in rural health and compared and contrasted work in rural Zimbabwe to rural New Zealand. He had some important advice for us and we really enjoyed being able to sit and chat with him over a cup of tea.
This hui has inspired many of the students to pursue rural health careers, especially in the Northland area. The rich culture and sense of community was like no other. This trip wouldn’t have been possible without the generous help of the New Zealand Rural General Practice Network (NZRGPN)! Also an acknowledgement to Students of Rural Health Aotearoa (SoRHA) for helping to build networks and increased exposure between health students and rural practices.

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Tai Rāwhiti Noho Marae 2021

From the 6-9th April, we took 18 students from the Faculty of Medical and Health Science to the beautiful Mohaka/Wairoa area in the Hawke’s Bay. We visited Wairoa Health clinic (combination of the local hospital and GP) to learn about the health services in the area, had a session with the local rangatahi at Wairoa College and an amazing time in the awa with Val doing Waka Ama, Paddle boarding and biking around the town. We also had cultural learning about Te Ao Māori and the Ngāti Pāhuwera history from Matua Charles, who took us for a hike up the maunga.
Huge thanks to the kaumātua for their hospitality and to all the locals who share their piece of wisdom and taonga with us. Thank you to RNZGPN for sponsoring the trip.

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Grassroots Whakatāne Medical Imaging Trip 2021

We were kindly invited by Whakatāne hospital (radiology) to shadow radiographers for a couple of hours per day over four days. Hillary Robinson, the CT supervisor, was there together with a friendly team to show us their work and answer any questions we had.
Students learnt that radiographers switch between general xray and CT on site, and the importance of dedicating time to patient care. We got the chance to hear many great stories from different health professionals in this tight-knit department.
The rest of the days were spent appreciating the local sites, such as night walks to listen to kiwis and see glow worms, Onekawa pā, and beach activities. Students would like to thank Whakatāne radiology for their time, Grassroots for organising and funding the trip and the University of Auckland Medical Imaging department who also kindly provided accommodation funds for us to stay at the amazing Ohope holiday park. We are excited to be a part of building strong networks!

Grassroots Taranaki Nursing Trip 2021

As a large proportion of UoA nursing students hail from Auckland it was refreshing to be able to introduce a group of them to nursing in regional/rural Aotearoa. The four day trip began with a tour of the new Otorohanga medical centre, but by the afternoon our group had reached the Taranaki region, where we were met by the warm and generous nursing staff of Taranaki base hospital. They spoke candidly about the development of ‘jack of all trades’ nurses in rural settings and the variety of possibilities that rural nursing offers, highlighted by some of the group members appearing to be offered future work opportunities on the spot.
The trip’s health centre visits were broken up by the opportunity to have a guided tour on a Taranaki farm. Our host spoke openly about their day-to-day, however, getting up close with free-range pigs seemed to peak the interest of the group.
In Hawera the team were introduced to a ‘rural’ hospital. The talk of developing community relationships by the staff made the visit an eye-opening one for the group. The notion that you may be treating a patient on a Monday and then chatting to them at the local rugby match the following Saturday seemed bizarre. While the hospital was small in stature, it definitely did not lack character.
The following day the group were ready for the renowned Te Hapai te hoe cultural training provided by the generous Te Hau Ranga Ora team. Despite being a relatively culturally inexperienced party of nursing students we were treated with patience and understanding, to which we responded with a willingness to learn. For many this part of the trip was their highlight.
Ending the trip at Pihanga health in Turangi allowed the group to enjoy some professional and patient interaction, with the team being able to talk with many of the multi-disciplinary team at the service and a very pain tolerant dog bite recipient. The four days the group shared were fun and insightful, and by the end of it all we were all extremely grateful for the opportunity to experience rural nursing!

Grassroots Coromandel Trip 2019

A group of 20 students had a fantastic weekend exploring what rural health looks like in the stunning Coromandel. Students had enlightening presentations from the CE of the Hauraki PHO, a local Dr and the nurse manager at the Thames hospital as well as a tour. From there it was off to Hot Water beach for the night where the evening involved a relaxing dip in the natural hot water on the picturesque beach, a hearty BBQ some jams on the guitar and quality banter.
Sunday the group made the windy drive up to Coleville where the local GP Dr Kate as well as nursing and St Johns staff put on an incredible afternoon of skills sessions including fish hook removal and inspiring conversation about the challenges and rewards of serving this isolated community. The weekend was finished with a tour of the homely GP practice and a very scenic drive back to the big smoke. Thank you to all the locals and Wendy from the NZIRH for an incredible weekend.

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FMG Young Farmer of the Year 2021

What better way to spend the day after Progress Test than with a bunch of cuties at the Northland Young Farmer’s competition in Pukekohe!!!
On Saturday, a multidisciplinary team of med students, a nursing student and a medical imaging student got together to act as concussed farmhands with broken wrists. We assessed how each young farmer managed their DR’s ABC’s and marked them accordingly. These Young Farmer’s could give health professionals a run for their money with their medical skills.
Not only this, but we saw some pig wrangling, alpaca judging, and learned the best way to make vegetable stock from a friendly barista. Could it get any more rural??
The day was topped off by grabbing a photo with the one and only Te Radar who was the MC for the day. Thanks to finding out I’m cousins with the the organisers, I think this is the start of a beautiful relationship between Grassroots and Young Farmer’s. We’re on the way up and are excited to strengthen the interdisciplinary bond between the health professional courses even further. So, watch this space!
A MASSIVE THANKYOU to every single person who drove to Pukekohe. People travelled from Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga, to support this beautiful rural event. You’re all absolute champs!

South Waikato Weekend 2019

Grassroots had the privilege of taking 20 Nursing, Optometry, Pharmacy and Medical students to Tokoroa for a true rural health experience. Students visited local NGOs such as Raukawa, SWPICs, medical centres, the ED and pharmacies to talk with the local people involved in supporting the health of the people in this beautiful part of New Zealand. Furthermore students got stuck into skills sessions and checked out the local attractions. A big thanks to everyone a part of this one!

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Taranaki Induction Weekend 2021

What a lovely way to start the year! Our Taranaki Regional Rural Cohort had the chance to meet and greet this weekend to kick off 2021…
After exploring the Taranaki Base Hospital hostel and finding the best spots to hang out (directly under the wifi router), we headed out for dinner at the home of our site co-ordinator, paediatrician John Doran, surrounded by native bush and tuis. Then a quick break to complete our online induction modules (due that night), and we headed out to explore the Naki-famous Festival of Lights! On Monday we piled into a van with our bag lunches to explore the small town of Hawera one hour away, home of surf-famous Waihi beach. We were treated to a tour of the Hawera hospital, which currently features a grand total of two inpatients, and our accomodation at hawera house, which features a pond with one goldfish. Here are some photos from the weekend!

Bay of Plenty Induction Weekend 2021

This long weekend we held the BOP induction weekend for the 5th years on placement in the Bay of Plenty area. The weekend started of on Saturday at Ohope beach where we practiced our boogie boarding skills and wave catching ahead of our surf lesson on Sunday followed by the standard fish’n chips on the beach . After some very successful boogie boarding, we headed to Julian’s berry farm for some real fruit ice cream. In the evening we had a very wholesome BBQ at the beautiful Pukawakawa house which has a lovely view of the sunset along Ohope beach. We also had some of the other rural students studying paramedicine and dietetics join us. And on Sunday morning we had a wicked time learning how to surf from the Salt Spray Surf School team. Overall, it was a really fun and wholesome weekend, which facilitated whakawhanaungatanga for our BOP rural programme students.

Pūkawakawa Induction Weekend 2021

Our Pūkawakawa students moved up to Whangārei this past weekend to start their year of placement in Northland. To start of the year and relieve some stress, we planned to have a day outing to Ocean Beach in Whangārei Heads. Before we went for a swim, we set the challenge to reach the summit of Te Whara (Bream Head) before making our way back down to hit the surf. After a few hours chilling at the beach, we made our way back to the lodge not before stopping in for some classic kiwi fish n’ chips as a reward for the big day we’d accomplished. Here are a few pics from the adventure!

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