Our Events

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


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!


Goodfellow Symposium

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

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 idea 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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Ngāwhā Rural Māori Health Hui – Northland

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

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.



Grassroots Waikato Nursing Trip

11 enthusiastic Nursing students spent a weekend getting a sense of rural life as a nurse in Morrinsville, with a Marae clinic visit and rural themed challenge before being welcomed onto Rukumoana Marae with a powhiri to stay there.
Day 2 consisted of a farm visit before heading to Waikato Hospital where they learnt how to NG tube and talked to some awesome rural nurses from the surrounding area. Mihi nui to Samantha the nursing rep and all those who helped her organise such a great trip.

Grassroots Coromandel Trip

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.


Grassroots Welfare Week

Get talking with Grassroots!  Rural New Zealand faces unique health challenges and mental health is a biggie. For Welfare Week we wanted to highlight these issues like the struggle with depression and suicide among New Zealand farmers and how isolation and reduced access affects the health and wellbeing of rural kiwis.  Every day of Grafton Welfare Week we shared recent news stories on our Facebook page, highlighting amazing initiatives which are tackling these issues head on. Students could tag their mates to win a double movie pass.

South Waikato Weekend

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!


PHAB – aka Provincial Hospitals Are Better

Students at Grafton campus as well as clinical students in regions around New Zealand tuned in online via live stream to hear what other students and doctors love most about working and learning in provincial hospitals.
This was a great opportunity for students to get a feel for the environment of a smaller hospital, the joy of making a difference in rural communities and the perks of a lifestyle living in some of the most beautiful parts of NZ. A big thank you to the doctors, students and Grassroots exec who made this such a success.

Rural Health Week – featuring Knees Up! and the Grassroots AGM

Grafton campus had an agricultural makeover for Rural Health week in Sem 2 2018, and a line up of amazing events to celebrate all things rural:
Monday night – the Rural Career Pathways Evening with talks from some inspiring Rural Health Professionals (and icecream).
Tuesday – the Health and Wellbeing Panel, an evening well spent having down to earth conversations about this years focus of rural health week whilst enjoying some Lewis Road Creamery goodies.
Wednesday was ‘Get Plastered’; a whole heap of fun doing plaster casts washed down with a bit of Kombucha.
Thursday – KNEES UP!!!  This years party highlight of our social calendar did not disappoint..
Friday – the week was finished off with a recovery sausage sizzle and the Grassroots AGM where the new exec was elected. A big thanks to the exec members who put in the mahi to make this week such a success.

Pūkawakawa Induction Weekend

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!