Otago Polytechnic

Archive for 2020


  • Open Day: Central Otago Campus (January 29) (December 5 2019)

    Visit our town campus and talk to our team about a suitable career pathway, and what qualification you can achieve without having to leave Central Otago.


    Date: Wednesday, January 29

    Location: Central Campus, Molyneux Restaurant, Erris Street

    Time: 4.00pm to 6.00pm

  • Open Day: Dunedin Campus (January 22) (December 5 2019)

    Whether you have a career in mind, you are not sure which one would best suit your skills and interests or you are looking to gain the foundation skills to take on further study - come along to our open day and find out more about our study options.


    Date: Wednesday, January 22

    Time: 3.30pm to 6.00pm

    Location: The Hub, Ground Floor H Block, Forth Street

  • 2020 January Open Day (November 5 2019)

    Date: Wednesday, January 22

    Time: 3.30pm to 6.00pm

    Venue: The Hub, Ground Floor, H Block, Forth Street

    We are accepting applications for a number of our first and second semester programmes – so come and find out where your Otago Polytechnic journey could take you.

    Whether you have a career in mind, you are not sure which one would best suit your skills and interests or you are looking to gain the foundation skills to take on further study – come along to our open day and find out about our study options.


  • Water: Call for papers (December 19 2019)

    Junctures: The Journal of Thematic Dialogue invites submissions on the theme “water.” Water is more than a precious commodity that requires careful management to maintain its quality, quantity and accessibility. We are all charged with its preservation and protection for the benefit and survival of ourselves and all living beings we share this planet with. The world’s freshwater resources are increasingly the subject of conflict between parties with vested interests and those advocating for biodiversity and protection of shrinking habitats.

    Water is the core to life and has deep-time cultural and spiritual values. In 2017, Te Awa Tupua, the Whanganui River catchment, was recognised in New Zealand law as a living being possessing all the rights, powers, duties, and liabilities of a legal person.

    E rere kau mai te Awa nui, Mai i te Kāhui Maunga ki Tangaroa, Ko au te Awa, ko te Awa ko au. (The Great River flows, From the Mountains to the Sea, I am the River and the River is me.) - Ngā Tāngata Tiaki o Whanganui

    In the same year the Uttarakhand High Court in India ruled that the Ganges and Yamuna Rivers, sacred in the Hindu religion, have the same legal rights as a person.

    Lowered standards in catchment management for short-term gains increasingly exacerbate scarcity of potable water. Statistics from World Water Week, 2019, illustrate the extent of this: just four countries have met the UN Sustainable Development Goals for everyone to have access to sanitation and safe drinking water by 2030; 845 million people still need access to drinking water to meet 2030 UN goals; 2 billion people lack drinkable water at home. In addition, climate change, attributed to global warming, is intensifying flooding in low-lying areas and triggering mass migrations as people lose their homes to the rivers or the rising seas.

    Junctures invites submissions from authors on the impacts of land use and resource consumption on water quality, and on various forms of stewardship and kaitiakitanga for our waters, both fresh and marine, now and in the future, whether from the hard sciences, humanities, visual, social sciences, law, education or medicine. Junctures encourages discussion across boundaries, whether these are disciplinary, geographic, cultural, social or economic. This allows us to highlight the resonances and disturbances of dialogue. With New Zealand and the Asia-Pacific region as a backdrop, but not its only stage, Junctures seeks to address the matters which concern us all as we negotiate the contemporary environment. We accept commentaries and interventions that sit outside academia.

    Call for Papers: Junctures: The Journal of Thematic Dialogue.

    Expressions of interest open now.

    Final deadline for papers: 30 April, 2020

    Word limit: 4000 words feature articles, please also enquire about our other formats.

    Editors: junctures@op.ac.nz
    Marc Doesburg, Director Global Engagement
    Ron Bull, Tumuaki Whakaako 
    Online journal at junctures.org


    Image credit: "arbyreed", used under Creative Commons licence Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

  • Partnerships improving outcomes: Call for Papers (December 19 2019)


    Ngā mihi nui ki ā tātou hoamahi!

    Greetings to all our ITP colleagues and associates!

    We invite you to submit an abstract for the next national ITP Research Symposium, Monday 20 – Tuesday 21 April 2020, at Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology's  Mokoia campus in Rotorua.

    Conference theme: “Kotahitanga: He mahingā tahi – working in partnership to improve outcomes for learners and communities”

    The conference theme encompasses the many, varied and mutually beneficial partnerships that exist between ITPs and our stakeholders and partners that lead to improved outcomes for learners and hāpori (communities), including those yet to be realised with the establishment of NZIST.  

    The conference subthemes are:

    • Co-creating research outcomes with hapu, iwi and hāpori
    • Adaptive systems for enhanced industry and learner outcomes (e.g. employability, internships and work-based learning)
    • Embracing disequilibrium (e.g. innovative models and contributions to our future organisation and partnerships, including alternative ways of measuring learner success)

    Please submit a 250 word abstract and bio by 12 February 2020 for any of the options below that reflect the conference theme and any of the conference strands.

    Decisions on proposals will be returned by 27 February 2020.

    To submit an abstract for this symposium, please fill in the online form here

    Your abstract will be assessed against the following criteria:

    • Relevance to the conference theme or one of the sub-themes
    • Collaboration/partnership with others demonstrated
    • Applied research that demonstrates valued outcomes to stakeholders


    • Presentation: A 20 minute presentation followed by 5 minutes of question and discussion time. As a guideline, please think about “telling the story” of some aspect of your research, or offering a brief overview of a completed project. Identifying transferable features or strategies will be especially useful for our audience. We welcome people to bring their research partners to co-present with them.
    • Student project snapshots. A 10 minute presentation as part of a rolling group session, for Masters and PhD candidates, especially new presenters, to offer a brief overview of some aspect of their study relevant to the conference themes.
    • Workshop: A 60 minute interactive workshop on practical research topics or tools. This session could be used to introduce a new resource or software, demonstrate an interview technique or develop a collaborative project.
    • Poster: These should be A1; either portrait or landscape style. There will be provision in the programme for a session when delegates can view these and discuss the contents with the authors. Another good opportunity to showcase research completed for higher qualifications.
    • Exhibits: Individual or small collections of creative research outputs. There will be provision in the programme for sessions when delegates can view these and discuss the work with the artists.


    Papers of approximately 3000 words (excluding references) can be submitted in support of any of the above presentation formats. These are due 8th May, 2020; Author guidelines will be available in early 2020.

    Papers will be peer-reviewed, and reviewers’ recommendations will be returned by end of May, 2020. Publication will likely be the end of June, 2020.

    If you would like further information about the refereed proceedings, please contact Cath Fraser.


  • Call for Symposium: Mapping the Anthropocene in ¯Otepoti/Dunedin (December 18 2019)

    Mapping the Anthropocene in ¯Otepoti/Dunedin: climate change, community and research in the creative arts

    Increasingly, the wider creative arts are used to bridge the abstract knowledge of climate change and its lived experience across generations and in local as well as global contexts.

    We invite papers and presentations or displays that use creative media to make intelligible and relevant the complex data of climate change and the wider issues of planetary changes characterized by the term Anthropocene. We are interested in community actions, presentations and projects from art, architecture, design and further afield.

    The symposium will be presented in the context of community presentations and displays on the impacts of climate change as it may play out specifically here in Ōtepoti/Dunedin and a curated exhibition of artworks.


    Suggested themes/conference streams:

    Climate change in the context of kaupapa Māori: understandings of kaitiakitaka and kaupapa Māori in the context of Te Ao Māori

    Mappings, presentations and artworks that engage embodied understandings through the range of senses (sight, hearing, touch, smell, taste, proprioception)

    Scalar connections such as the global and the local; generational differences; socio-political contexts

    Generational differences

    Climate literacy

    Future living skills

    Ecosystems, biodiversity and extinctions


    Urban growth

    Food and energy resilience

    Community actions

    Art/science/Sci arts debates

    New economic and political models


    Dates: Friday September 25 – Sunday September 27 2020.
    Venue: Dunedin School of Art and Otago Polytechnic | Te Kura Matatini ki Otago, Dunedin Ōtepoti


    This conference is presented by the Dunedin School of Art and the College of Art, Design Architecture and Business in association with the 150th anniversary of the Dunedin School of Art and its roles in the histories of the wider creative arts in Aotearoa/New Zealand. 

    DSA logo H Black


    Download the template for the symposium abstract here >
    For more information or to submit abstract please contact Bridie Lonie.
    The abstracts, conferences and subsequent publications will be peer reviewed.
    Deadline for abstracts is 30 April.


    (image: NASA satellite photo of Otago Peninsula and Otago Harbour.)


  • New partnership to combat skills shortage in tech industries (December 18 2019)

    Otago Polytechnic and Auckland-based education provider Mission Ready HQ have joined forces to bring short, innovative, tech career study programmes to a wider audience, in a bid to help address the growing skills shortage in the tech industry.

    Branded as Tech Career Accelerators, the 14-week programmes have been designed industry professionals as a way to fast-track people into tech careers.

    “Studying for three years before getting into a tech job won’t address the skills gap,” says Mission Ready HQ Director, Diana Sharma. “To keep New Zealand’s tech industry competitive on the international stage, we’re providing a smarter pathway to develop our tech workforce for the future, now.”

    Students of the programmes work directly with tech employers including Spark, Centrality, Fusion Networks, Crunch and Vyne Digital. They gain experience, industry connections, networking and referrals – and, most importantly, a career launching pad.

    While the programmes are delivered by Mission Ready HQ, Otago Polytechnic is coming on board as an academic partner through its NZQA-approved micro-credentialing service, EduBits.

    “We’re delighted to be joining forces with Mission Ready HQ to bring these exciting, highly-effective programmes to a wider audience,” says Otago Polytechnic’s Director: Employability, Andy Kilsby.

    Otago Polytechnic is seeking NZQA-accreditation for these programmes so that graduates can receive a nationally-recognised qualification. The NZQA awards it is applying for are a Certificate in Technology Product Development, a Certificate in Digital Technology Product Solutions, and a Certificate in Applied Digital Technology Product Solutions.

    The programmes would still be delivered by Mission Ready HQ, but accredited through EduBits.

    “EduBits’ micro-credentials are designed to recognise industry-led programmes that provide relevant, work-ready skills – making it the perfect fit for our Tech Career Accelerators,” says Diana Sharma.

  • New artwork at Te P¯a Tauira entrance by Scott Eady (December 10 2019)

    A new sculpture graces the entranceway to Te P¯a Tauira (The Student Village). 

    Created by Scott Eady, Senior Lecturer (College of Art, Design and Architecture), the artwork, Matou Ahau (We Me), represents the learner journey that is at once both individual and part of a community. 

    Scott says the artwork went through a lengthy development process.

    “Thinking about one’s practice as being formed and informed by others. I made a drawing where the words ME and WE were repeated hundreds of times,” he says.

    “On top of the entrance bulkhead the words NAU MAI HAERE MAI will illuminate from pounamu green coloured neon which at night time will illuminate the stainless steel forms.

    “The pairing of M¯aori with English words an honouring of Aotearoa New Zealand’s bicultural Treaty of Waitangi partnership. The use of these words came from a discussion with Simon Kaan.

    “Also present in the work is the notion of education as a journey – "ara honohono" – the concept presented by Otakou Runaka representative Tahu Potiki in consultation with Professor Emeritus Khyla Russell.

    “As people pass between the words either entering or exiting Te Pa Tauira, an image of self is reflected for just a moment on both the words ME and WE simultaneously.

    "At Otago Polytechnic students and staff are on both an individual learning journey and part of a greater learning community.”

    Edward Ellison, Philip Cullen, Scott Eady and Bridie Lonie spoke at the event. The artwork was sponsored by Otago Polytechnic, Naylor Love and Logic Group. 

  • Portage Ceramic Awards - Merit for Kylie Matheson (December 10 2019)

    Congratulations to Kylie Matheson - Merit Award in the 2019 Portage Ceramic Awards.

    Congratulations to all the other finalists and also to Blue Black who also received a Merit Award. See the link for the 19 finalists, whose work appears in the exhibition. https://www.teuru.org.nz/…/cal…/portage-ceramic-awards-2019/

    The Portage Ceramic Awards exhibition offers an annual update on the state of ceramic practices in New Zealand. Established in 2001, the awards are the country’s best-known showcase of current directions in the field, as well as future possibilities.

  • Student Design Awards Winner: Fashion & Textiles Section of the ECC (December 10 2019)

    Congratulations to Susan Richardson, Graduate Diploma - Textiles who won the Fashion & Textiles Section of the ECC Student Design Awards in Wellington.

    (image: Susan Richardson, Molyneux Rediscovered, 2019, embroidered found object in response to lichen and the industrial past of Port Molyneux)

    Congratulations also to Hope Duncan who received a Highly Commended Award for Careful Where you Tread, a hand-tufted woollen rug.

    The top designs were shortlisted from entries received from tertiary students throughout New Zealand, in the annual edition of this design competition run by The Friends of the Dowse, People’s Choice Award.

    Since 1986 The Friends of The Dowse have offered their support to New Zealand tertiary students through an Award scheme designed to encourage innovation and creativity specifically in the areas of design and craft. The annual ECC NZ Student Craft/Design Awards are open to all students who are currently enrolled to study in 2019 or who have completed their studies in 2018. 

  • (December 9 2019)

    SITE 2019 / Dunedin School of Art Final Year Exhibition 

    Each year, Dunedin School of Art opens its doors to the public to showcase works by our emerging artists. An unmissable contemporary art experience, at SITE you can converse with the artists, purchase an original work of art, or just admire the collection of paintings, prints, photography, jewellery, electronic arts, ceramics and sculptures on display.


    We invite you to click on the link to see the flickr gallery from this year's exhibition



    (image: Elaine Mitchell)

  • No lounging around for Product Design students (December 6 2019)

    Developing furniture for a range of purposes, Otago Polytechnic Product Design students have been working closely with local company Otago Furniture, which has been designing and manufacturing high-quality products in Dunedin since 1868.

    Otago Polytechnic’s recent end-of year Student Showcase included a range of examples of  Product Design students’ focus on both the client and the end-user – or, in the case of chairs and couches, one might say the user’s end.

    Recently, that client has comprised Otago Furniture.

    A company with a rich history, Otago Furniture has successfully navigated more than 150 years of change, constantly evolving and adapting to meet the needs of its customers and society. It currently employs 24 expert craftspeople, and utilises state-of-the-art equipment.

    Product Design Lecturer Tim Armstrong says Otago Polytechnic’s programme enables students to gain a deep understanding of what is involved in identifying new product opportunities within a company.

    “The students develop concepts to address these opportunities, and communicate their process clearly and professionally to their client.

    “They learn about what it takes to develop and manufacture products in New Zealand, and the opportunities and considerations this presents. They design and prototype compelling products within these boundaries.

    “They also keep a record of the time spent in each phase, considering hourly work rates, invoicing and other elements of professional practice.”

    Getting the elderly outdoors

    Ruth Venediger has designed a chair with the specific intent of encouraging elderly people to spend more time outside.

    “Users are taken through a custom-fitting process to personalise aspects of ergonomics and comfort specific to their needs,” Ruth says.

    “It utilises computer-controlled manufacturing processes, and is designed to maximise material efficiencies and produce minimal waste.”

    An Ottoman for the younger set . . .

    Brianna Markham has designed a piece of furniture to be used by primary school children.

    “The form and functional aspects of my design – the Oval Ottoman – consider social activities, storage for materials and resources, and ease of movement and re-configuration,” she explains.

    “The current educational trend of flexible learning spaces underpins the design direction, in that the new furniture must be able to be used in multiple ways. Students can choose how and where they work within a classroom throughout the day, as this encourages both group and independent activities.”

    . . . and an Ottoman for elsewhere

    Matt T’eo’s inspiration for an Ottoman chair to be used indoors (lounges, libraries, restaurants, etc) comes from Pacifika culture.

    “There are many types of Ottoman chairs with unique shapes, colours and materials. Most are in the shape of circles, squares, rectangles, triangles, pentagons, ovals or diamonds.

    “This chair came from Pacific Island patterns or designs. The design I chose is called a ‘spearhead’, which symbolizes war, strength and family.”

    Furniture for the new-born

    Another second-year student, Zoe Morehu has designed “The Kahu Nest”, which is aimed at families with new-born babies.

    “A strong bond between parents and babies in the early years has lifelong benefits for everyone,” Zoe explains. “The main priority is to support all whanau in welcoming a baby in a safe and loving way.

    “The Kahu Nest can be used as both a bassinet and a co-sleeper. The adjustable height of the stand makes it suitable for a different range of bed heights and the flat-pack design makes it easy to transport and assemble.

    “Parents are gifted The Kahu Nest for the first six months of their baby’s life. This system design is inclusive and accessible to all parents to use in their own domestic environments.”

    A chair for the older generation

    Second-year student Toni Linington’s starting point for her project was to research chair design in relation to the needs of the older person and those undergoing rehabilitation due to injury, illness or disability.

    “New Zealand’s aging population is growing fast,” Toni says. “It is estimated that between 2011 to 2021 the elderly population is projected to grow by about 200,000.

    “My aim was to design a chair that was both aesthetically pleasing and functional, with customisable features that address the common needs associated with age as well as specific health and mobility issues, increasing not only support and comfort but also promoting independence and well-being for the user.

    “I have focused on an individual leg support that can be adjusted to raise the leg to different heights, providing comfort and supporting pressure areas in order to avoid further injury.

    “The leg support can be easily moved out of the way so as not to restrict movement when moving from a sitting to standing position, unlike some traditional recliner chairs which require both legs to be raised, and when in the sitting position stop the feet moving backwards when rising which, restricts rather than aiding mobility.”

    Read more about our Product Design programme




  • Career Advisors Seminar (December 6 2019)

    In November, the Liaison Team hosted 10 Career Advisors from lower South Island secondary schools at the Dunedin Campus. The Career Advisors had a great experience learning about what programmes we offer at OP, what those programmes entail, our links to local industry and graduate outcomes.

    This is an important event so they can now pass on their understanding of OP to their students.

    The opening morning started beautifully with Te Punaka Ōwheo guiding the group through Tinana Whakaoriori (a cleansing exercise). This led into updates about RoVE and Campus Developments and highlighting the roles within Student Success. The rest of the event comprised of information sessions, tours of our facilities, and off-site visits including Forsyth Barr Stadium, Runaway Play and the new Heavy Automotive facility at Kaikorai Valley.

    Over 60 OP staff, graduates and students presented to the delegates. Many others were involved behind the scenes ensuring we showcased a lot of what OP has to offer. A constant theme from our teaching staff was how important the role of support services are with Student Success and Te Punaka Ōwheo mentioned a number of times.

    The Career Advisors often spoke about how obvious it is that our staff are passionate about where we work and what we do. Our values really shone through and what I saw during the three days made me immensely proud to work at OP.

  • Otago Polytechnic Heavy Automotive programmes benefit from Port Otago donation (December 3 2019)

    Otago Polytechnic’s Heavy Automotive Engineering students are set to enter a new chapter of learning thanks to the generosity of Port Otago.

    Having celebrated the opening of its new Heavy Automotive Engineering facility in Donald St, Kaikorai Valley, earlier in the year, Otago Polytechnic will tomorrow (Friday 29 November) receive four massive diesel engines previously used in Port Otago “straddle carriers”, as well as a Clark 55 loader.

    The donation was instigated by Matt Eves, Port Otago Maintenance Manager, and was a result of a visit to the port by Otago Polytechnic automotive staff, who highlighted the innovative Kaikorai Valley facility, which provides a range of Heavy Automotive programmes aimed at meeting the demands of industry.

    “Port Otago saw this as a great opportunity to support the training programme and encourage those participating to consider a career with our team here at Port,” Matt says.

    Otago Polytechnic Automotive Engineering lecturer Rob Roderique says numerous learning opportunities will result from the donation of the machinery.

    “We explained to Port Otago what we are doing in our heavy vehicle programme and they offered assistance to Otago Polytechnic.

    “Training purposes will range from diesel component diagnoses, repairing transmissions, axles, hydraulics, servicing and maintenance, disassembly and reassembly, as well as learning various engine systems.”

    Read the Otago Daily Times article

    Read more about our Automotive programmes



  • Otago Polytechnic hosts New Zealand’s first open education symposium (December 3 2019)

    New Zealand’s very first symposium on open education will be held at Otago Polytechnic this week.

    Organised by the Otago Polytechnic-affiliated Centre for Open Education Practice (coep.nz), the symposium at the Sargood Centre (5-6 December) will focus on “social justice through open education” and will feature a range of presentations and working groups.

    A highlight will be the “National Planning Sprint”, a workshop aimed at accelerating the adoption of Open Educational Resources (OER) in New Zealand in response to a unanimous recommendation by member states at the recent 40th UNESCO General Conference.

    Open Educational Resources comprise learning, teaching and research material in any format and medium that resides in the Public Domain, or that has been released under a copyright open license permitting no-cost access, reuse, repurpose, adaptation and redistribution by others.

    “The implementation of OER-based initiatives could lay the firm foundation for a much-needed new and sustainable business model for national education systems at all levels,” Otago Polytechnic Chief Executive Phil Ker says.

    Headquartered at Otago Polytechnic, the Centre for Open Education Practice is a game-changer for higher education in New Zealand, ensuring greater access to free resources for learners and developing capabilities of educators at all levels.

    Dr Wayne Mackintosh, New Zealand’s UNESCO Chair in OER, says all education materials developed using taxpayer funding should be released under an open copyright license – “for the benefit of all New Zealanders”.

    Read more about the 2019 Open Education Symposium

  • OPAIC讲师将蜂蜜业务扩展到中国 (December 3 2017)

    OPAIC讲师杰伊·霍拉尼(Jay Hourani)最近应邀作为新西兰贸易代表团的一员出访中国成都和西安。

    杰伊是OPAIC的应用管理专业兼职讲师。他同时还是新西兰优质蜂蜜供应商THE GOOD HONEY CO公司的拥有者。在这里阅读有关他出访的所有信息。

    OPAIC讲师杰伊·霍拉尼(Jay Hourani)最近应邀作为新西兰贸易代表团的一员出访中国成都和西安。

    杰伊是OPAIC的应用管理专业兼职讲师。他同时还是新西兰优质蜂蜜供应商THE GOOD HONEY CO公司的拥有者。

    中新商业论坛是建立在新西兰总理Jacinda Ardern今年4月对中国的首次国事访问的基础上的。中新年贸易额超过300亿新元,经贸合作前景不可限量。来自中新两国的企业家,行业代表以及政府官员通过论坛进行了商务磋商和交流学习。



  • 应用管理专业的老师们和中国同行的交流 (December 3 2017)

    OPAIC应用管理专业的老师Lydia Harrell和Dani Mao 10月中旬在中国的两次国际教育会议上进行了演讲和交流。





  • Graduate address: Olha Viazenko (November 29 2019)

    Student speaker Olha Viazenko told our international graduates to think of themselves as new Kiwis, at yesterday’s graduation ceremony at the Auckland Town Hall.

    Olha studied law and journalism back home in Ukraine and has worked as an investigative reporter.

    She arrived on campus in October last year to study the Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Management and made a huge impact on students and staff with her intelligence, open-mindedness, and patience.

    Olha told graduates she left her country, job, and position in society to travel 18,000km to New Zealand and start a new life from the very beginning.

    It was wonderful to be a student again. At OPAIC she’d had the opportunity to meet nice people from all over the world.

    “Different cultures, accents, views and opinions helped me to see the world in a different way – to feel its depth and diversity,” she said.

    She thanked her teachers for their time, effort, patience, and skills. She also thanked her family and friends who supported her. Her husband, daughter, and mum had all helped her succeed in her study and get where she is today.

    She urged graduates to be confident and determined in making the next step.

    “We all made the first step to our brilliant future and now we are graduating.”

    She told them not to feel like immigrants but new Kiwis.

    “I respect and recognise New Zealand values and I believe that combination of the experience that we have had before and our knowledge we have gained here will help us to become respectful experts in the fields we have chosen,” she said.

    “Congratulations to all of us new Kiwis. Let’s make the next step in our journey to be our best selves and lead our best lives.”

  • Celebrating success at biggest ceremony to date (November 29 2019)

    More than 300 graduates crossed the stage at OPAIC’s biggest ceremony to date at the Auckland Town Hall yesterday.

    Guest speaker Guy Howard-Willis told graduates about the many challenges he’s faced and how those challenges set him off in new directions.

    Guy has founded many start-up businesses. One of his most successful is outdoor adventure store Torpedo7.

    “Life won’t be what you expect, or what you plan, at least that’s been my experience,” he said.

    Guy had planned to follow in his father’s footsteps and join the military, but he failed the entrance exams for military cadet school, the navy and the air force.

    It taught him that “failure is not fatal” and showed him not to be afraid of doing something new.

    He had a serious motorbike accident as a teenager and was in hospital for two and a half months.

    A girl he’d met once before came to visit every day and they ended up getting married.

     “Not all bad things that happen are going to end up that way. It’s only if you make it that way.”

    When Guy came to New Zealand in 1975, he worked in a caravan factory. It was a good job, but he was made redundant.

    “That was the push for me to start to get into business.”

    He started selling designer furniture and soon had his own factory. Things were going well until a fire destroyed his warehouse.

    Financially there was no way through, but the challenge set him off in a different direction. He ended up in a better manufacturing plant with a retail store, which he eventually sold to start an e-commerce sports business with his son.

    He said all those challenges helped him become more courageous and find the inner strength he needed.

    “It helped me develop a courageous mind in solving problems and it always set me off in a different direction.”

    Chair of the Otago Polytechnic Council Kathy Grant also addressed graduates, congratulating them for grasping the opportunities the institution provided.

    “I want to acknowledge your courage and bravery in choosing to travel half-way around the world from countries such as India, China, Nepal and the Philippines to study here.”

    “You have demonstrated that you are adventurers, achievers and doers. You are also this polytechnic’s success stories and will become ambassadors for this campus in New Zealand, in your country of origin, and elsewhere.”

    Check out the photos here.

  • Otago Polytechnic Architectural Studies students receive DCC awards (November 28 2019)

    Four Otago Polytechnic Architectural Studies students have received Dunedin City Council Emerging Architecture Awards.

    The awards were presented during the official opening of “detail”, the title of Otago Polytechnic’s Bachelor of Architectural Studies Graduate Exhibition 2019, at O Block, Anzac Ave, on Friday 22 November.

    As part of their coursework this year, Freyja Munro, Leon Frommann, Georgia Wilkinson and Chunhui (Lance) Wang responded to a DCC brief to design two recycling hubs for Dunedin’s tertiary quarter.

    Dunedin’s student area has a higher density of residency, which means students have more recycling than fits into their recycling bins. To support the existing recycling collection service, the DCC plans to trial two new recycling hubs in the area from late March 2020.

    One hub is located next to the University of Otago’s Marsh Study Centre on Castle St; the other on the corner of St David St and Forth St, near Otago Polytechnic.

    The initiative follows the successful trial of two recycling hubs in the central business district, one on Moray Pl at the bottom of View St, and the other under the Jetty St bridge on Vogel St.

    The final designs were chosen by a panel comprising Otago Polytechnic, local architecture firm .everyday and DCC staff (from Ara Toi and Waste and Environmental Solutions) and the contractor, Ahika Consulting.

    Design criteria included: the hubs being complementary to the area, user-friendly, imaginative and attractive; they also needed to be easily accessible, stimulate positive waste minimisation and recycling messaging, as well as incorporate a community noticeboard for educational information.

    Leigh McKenzie, DCC Waste Minimisation Officer says it was great to see the students’ fresh ideas.

    “The concept was for students to design something for the tertiary area as part of their architecture studies. The students thought outside the box when approaching the brief and came up with some innovative ideas which were used as the basis for the final design.”

    For their winning concept designs, each of the students receive $500 towards their course fees.

    Director of .everyday and Otago Polytechnic Lecturer in Architectural Studies, Campbell McNeill says the projects also enabled the students to explore beyond obvious notions of sustainability.

    “For example, we dove into the concept of ‘regenerative development’, a process which helped guide the students to understand layers of social, ecological and economic contexts of the two sites and the wider city. A selection of the students’ ideas are proving happily persistent through the design and build process.

    “The process shows that understanding a project’s unique socio-ecological context can produce architecture that goes beyond a static design object and positively effect a greater ecosystem.”

    Caption: Otago Polytechnic Architectural Studies learners (from left) Frejya Munro, Georgia Wilkinson, Leon Frommann and Chunhui Wang (Lance) receive their awards from DCC Waste Minimisation Officer Leigh McKenzie.

    Read more about our Bachelor of Architectural Studies programme

  • Students help out at Walking Stars event (November 25 2019)

    OPAIC's students and staff volunteered their time to help the Cancer Society with its Walking Stars event on the weekend. 

    Walking Stars is a night-time walking half marathon which brings people together to raise funds to support local people living with cancer. It takes place at the Auckland Domain and more than 4,000 people take part.

    Fourteen of our students and two of our staff members helped out in the lead up to the event and on the Saturday night. 

    They put packs together for attendees last Wednesday, and assisted at the pack pickup on Friday. On Saturday, the team helped with parking, sold tee-shirts, communicated with participants, and controlled crowds in line for the information desk and merchandise. 

    Congratulations to everyone who got behind this great cause. 


  • Greater connectedness in Cromwell (November 19 2019)

    Otago Polytechnic’s Central Otago Campus has moved its nursery operations from Cromwell to the Bannockburn Road site, where they join fruit production, viticulture and turf programmes.

    The shift expands the campus’ nursery business, which has enjoyed a steady growth in sales each year.

    The new location will allow for better visibility, access for customers and enable students to learn in a state-of-the-art facility.

    The move will allow for more complimentary teaching, too.

    For example, aspects of the Otago Brew School’s operations can be incorporated into horticulture: the brewing waste can be turned into compost; and CO2 from the brewing process can be introduced into greenhouses to grow plants faster.

    The glass, metal and concrete from the old glasshouse at the Cromwell site will be recycled.

  • Art Lecturer David Green to take part in art and science collaboration with Track Zero project (November 19 2019)

    Congratulations to Dunedin School of Art lecturer, David Green, on being invited to take part in the What if Climate Change was Purple? art and science initiative.

    What if Climate Change was Purple? is an exciting collaborative project by Track Zero: Art Inspiring Climate Action that brings together a diverse group of selected artists & scientists into an environment that allows them to share their knowledge and to research ideas to create powerful new art works that inspire climate action.

    Running until May 2021, the project is delivered with support from both Victoria University of Wellington and Professor James Renwick, using part of the money he received as recipient of the Prime Minister’s Science Communication Prize 2018, and the University.

    What if Climate Change was Purple? aims to inspire New Zealanders to find imaginative solutions and change behaviour now to help the world limit climate warming to 1.5C degrees. Acting together – we can make a big difference.

  • Connecting for Success (November 15 2019)

    Students received great advice on how to build their connections in New Zealand from six industry guests at last night’s BizTech Meetup: Connect for Success event.

    Ariff Khalid from Environmental Resources Limited told attendees there were people all around them with their own personalities, skills, and life experiences to share.

    “The main thing that you need to understand is that you are not on this earth alone.”

    He encouraged them to connect and engage with others outside of their usual circles.

    Personal development coach Ciao Chen said people should know themselves and what they want to achieve when networking

    “What’s your strength, what’s your weakness, what are your core values?”

    She encouraged them to join professional bodies and associations in line with their study.

    Andrey Polyakov from Woodlore advised students to get to know their lecturers, get the most from their studies, and attend workshops and talks.

    They should also learn the intonations of the English language and pay attention to body language.

    Maria Pooley from Sunwave Company said students should talk to people and keep connecting.

    She said first impressions are important and people should be well prepared and positive.

    Most importantly, when networking, they should offer opportunities to others and not just look at what they can gain.

    Shailan Patel from MYOB gave tips about how to prepare for networking events. Students should research the speakers and think about what they want to ask them.

    They might also think about targets or goals for the night, such as who they wanted to talk to, and plan some icebreakers.

    Special guest entrepreneur and TV personality Iyia Liu talked about how she built up her successful businesses.

    She said she took every opportunity that came her way when she was starting out, including interning and working for free. She's glad she did because you never know which person you'll meet through which opportunity.

    She advised students to attend networking events, join Facebook groups, and put themselves in situations where they can connect.

    Check out the photos here. See what others learned from the event here.

  • Otago Polytechnic hosts leading Chinese educators (November 14 2019)

    Otago Polytechnic is this week hosting senior leaders from 10 leading Chinese vocational education institutions, illustrating the range of innovative and inspirational ways in which teaching and learning is delivered.

    The delegates are in New Zealand for two weeks to learn about our vocational education system and upgrade their knowledge and skills as part of the New Zealand China Vocational Education and Training Model Programme.

    Following a week-long visit to Wintec last week, the delegates have moved their focus to Otago Polytechnic, where they have been meeting programme and service leaders to learn about our innovations in education, such as EduBits microcredentials, our iamcapable learner capability programme, and Capable NZ’s model of recognition of prior learning.

    “Otago Polytechnic is honoured to host the Vocational Education Leadership Training (VELT) delegation from China,” Chief Executive Phil Ker says. 

    “New Zealand’s vocational education system is highly regarded by the Chinese.

    “We already have strong partnerships with a range of respected Chinese education providers, and this visit provides another opportunity to learn from each other and build relationships.”

    The Chinese leaders are interested in the ways in which Otago Polytechnic adapts to meet the needs of industry and the wider community. They are also interested in understanding how they might enhance their students’ critical and creative thinking to enhance innovation and entrepreneurship in China.

    This is the third year VELT delegates have visited New Zealand.

    The Vocational Education Leadership Programme (VELT) is sponsored and supported by the Chinese Ministry of Education, the China Education Association for International Exchange (CEAIE) and Education New Zealand.

    “Otago Polytechnic’s collaboration with ENZ and Wintec and our interaction with the Chinese visitors reflects our commitment to diversifying markets and developing innovative products and services in international education,” Ker says.

    Mike Waddell, Director External Relations, adds: “The Chinese delegation’s visit to Otago Polytechnic this week also demonstrates our ongoing commitment to Dunedin’s Economic Development Strategy, which includes a range of creative, cultural, educational, and business opportunities through Dunedin’s long-standing connection with cities in China.”

  • Management lecturers share knowledge in China (November 13 2019)

    Lydia Harrell and Dani Mao from the OPAIC Applied Management Team presented at two conferences in China in mid-October.

    Their abstract, titled ‘A model for integrating transferable skills into the Chinese Vocational Education Curriculum’ was selected to be presented at the 7th Sino NZ Vocational Education and Training Model Symposium held in Qingdao Technical College, Qingdao City on October 14 and 15.

    The Symposium demonstrates the shared commitment between the New Zealand and the Chinese Ministries of Education, and showcases best practice in the delivery of vocational teaching.

    Their presentation was also selected among the few to be presented at the 2019 China Annual Conference for International Education & Expo (CACIE) held in Beijing, China from October 17 to 21.

    Their presentation emphasised the urgent need to integrate transferable skills into the vocational education curriculum of China, highlighting the gaps in the current workplace training policy which has an extensive focus on technical skills.

    The pair proposed a model for integrating transferable skills in Chinese vocational education in areas such as curriculum design, teaching & delivery methods, and modes of assessment.

    The proposed model takes an integrated approach where transferable skills will be integrated into regular coursework. The presentation covered frameworks which can be used to teach and develop skills explicitly along with the core discipline.

  • OPAIC lecturer takes honey business to China (November 12 2019)

    OPAIC lecturer Jay Hourani was invited to a NZ Trade Mission in Chengdu and Xi’an in China recently to represent his company as part of a New Zealand trade delegation.

    Jay is a sessional management lecturer here at OPAIC. He is also the owner of THE GOOD HONEY CO., a premium New Zealand Honey Supplier.

    The “Opening Doors to the West” business forum was built on the success of New Zealand's inaugural state visit by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker to Beijing in April 2019. China-New Zealand trade is valued at over $30 billion.

    The delegates included other New Zealand businesses, industry representatives and local Chengdu and Xi’an officials. They exchanged valuable trade-related networking and learning opportunities between the countries.

    The highlights of the visit for Jay included the Panda Research Park in Chengdu and Terracotta Army museum in Xi'an.

    The delegation group also visited the sister city of Hamilton, Chengdu Hamilton Luxelakes Kindergarten School and Xi'an's Education City which included the Hang Tiang High School Affiliated with Jiaotong University.

    While Jay enjoyed the traditional Sichuanese Spicy Hot Pot dining experience in a traditional theatre setting, he received a deeper understanding of the Chengdu consumer from a fast-growing city. 

    Otago Polytechnic lecturers have various industry backgrounds which provides students with deeper industry insights on best practices and business models in action.


    Some of the other NZ Business Delegates at the fourm were:

    Lewis Road Creamery Ltd

    Pic's Peanut Butter


    Emerald Foods

    Moa Beer

    Cloud Ocean Waters

    Kengsington Swan

    NZ Maori Tourism

    O Tu Wines Ltd

    Sunlife Nutrition


    Other NZ Delegates were from:

    New Zealand Trade Enterprise

    New Zealand China Trade Association

    Tourism New Zealand

    Asia New Zealand Foundation

    Employers and Manufacturers Association


    Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development

    Auckland Airport

    Business NZ


    Jay was also interviewed and appeared on Chinese TV in China and in New Zealand:

    From New Zealand to China: E-commerce



    From New Zealand to China: Music and Culture



    Photo: Hang Tian School at Education City – Xi'an.

  • Japan study experience 'amazing' (November 8 2019)

    “Be prepared to be challenged.”

    Those are key words of advice from Georgia Baird, an Otago Polytechnic Bachelor of Applied Management student who recently returned from a five-month study scholarship in Japan.

    Georgia was among a group of four Otago Polytechnic students who received a Prime Minister’s Scholarship to Asia, the quartet attending Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto over its spring semester.

    “The experience at Ritsumeikan University was great,” says Georgia, who was joined by fellow Otago Polytechnic students Luke van der Vliet, Jessica Banks and Emily Dixon-Pawson.

    “The professors were from all over the world, including Japan, Hungary, Germany and New Zealand. There was also a ‘Beyond Borders Plaza’, which was like an international common room.

    “I studied International Relations on the Kinugasa campus, completing papers on International Law, International Organisations, Media and Society, Social Development, Global Environmental Issues, Japanese Culture and Japanese Society.”

    Georgia, who is about to complete her third and final year of the Bachelor of Applied Management, says the International Relations programme broadened both her education and general knowledge.

    “Most of our study was in an Asian context, too, so I learnt a lot about the Asian market and economy.

    “The experience also built on my people skills. I learnt to interact with people from not only Japan but all over the world, as I lived in a dormitory with 200 international students.”

    Although Georgia says the cultural differences took some time to getting used, she adapted and grew in confidence.

    “I developed a greater degree of independence when travelling by myself. The extra travel I was able to do was definitely a highlight. My parents also visited and we were able to travel all around Japan together.”

    Marc Doesburg, Director Global Engagement, says the relationship with Ritsumeikan University is another example of Otago Polytechnic cultivating opportunities for students overseas.

    “Such opportunities give learners insights into other cultures, helping them experience cultural diversity and develop cultural competence.

    “Through participation in the PMSA programme, the students will have gone some way to achieving global citizenship: the knowledge, skills and capabilities they acquire increase their ability to live, work and learn globally.

    “This directly aligns to the goals in the Education New Zealand International Strategy. At a personal level, the students have had ample opportunity to build lifelong friendships and networks.”

    Georgia agrees:

    “A highlight of the Prime Minister’s scholarship were the friendships I made with people all over the world.

    “It was amazing to meet so many people and I feel it enabled me to develop a greater understanding of so many different cultures.”

    Another member of the Otago Polytechnic contingent, Luke van der Vliet says meeting new people from all around the world helped give him an insight into different cultures, which in turn helped form new friendships.

    “The experience in Japan also helped you mature very fast.

    “We had to learn to budget, pay rent, do health insurance, pay bills, cook, as well as adapt to the new environment –  in terms of language and culture for what is acceptable and what is not,” Luke reflects.

    “I definitely gained in confidence. I was pushed out of my comfort zone almost every single day.”










  • Movember on campus (November 1 2019)

    We launched Movember on campus today. Movember is all about changing the face of health. It aims to tackle cancers, mental health and suicide.

    Movember takes place each November. People can get involved in a number of ways, including growing a moustache or running or walking 60 kilometres over the month and collecting funds.

    Our Leadership in Action students will be organising a variety of events throughout the month to raise awareness of the cause as well as funds. Keep an eye on our social media channels to learn more. Read more about Movember here: https://nz.movember.com/

  • Connecting with the Cancer Society (November 1 2019)

    OPAIC staff visited the Cancer Society yesterday to establish a partnership with the not-for-profit organisation and discuss opportunities for our students to volunteer there. 

    Head of Department Student Success & Employability Annemarie Meijnen, Placement Coordinator Anastasia Timoshkina, and Student Representative Ishant Ghulyani met with Manager Volunteering Sudha Bhana and Coordinator Volunteering Gretchen Wade.

    OPAIC encourages its students to volunteer in the community and is always looking for opportunities to help them do so. 

    Later this month, the Cancer Society will hold a Walking Stars event. This night-time walking half marathon will bring people together to raise vital funds in support of local people living with cancer.

    The Cancer Society needs volunteers to help with preparation of the event and also on the night. If any of our students are interested in helping out they can contact anastasiat@op.ac.nz or ishantg@op.ac.nz.

    Now that we've established this relationship with the Cancer Society, we hope to place some of our graduate diploma students there for their internships in the near future.

  • Otago Polytechnic welcomes Centre of Digital Excellence announcement (October 30 2019)

    Otago Polytechnic welcomes the announcement that Dunedin will host the New Zealand Centre of Digital Excellence (CODE).

    A national hub that will support the development of a $1 billion video game industry over the next decade, CODE will be backed by $10 million from the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund. This will be invested into several initiatives designed to develop the games industry and create new economic growth and sustainable employment opportunities.

    Otago Polytechnic CEO Phil Ker: “Our goal is to produce graduates that can step into the industry with immediately applicable skills. Therefore, designing fit-for-purpose vocational courses will play a pivotal role in the success of CODE.

    “The Government’s decision is a major endorsement of the city’s ability to make a significant contribution to New Zealand’s growing digital economy – and, as a leading tertiary education provider, Otago Polytechnic has a significant role to play.

    “Creative thinkers, people who possess not only hard skills but much sought-after soft skills, are crucial to the development of this sector,” Ker says.

    “Otago Polytechnic focuses strongly on capabilities such as communication and collaboration. Thus our graduates are highly valued by digital companies such as Runaway and Weta.”

    Otago Polytechnic enables students to work in agile, project-based teams in Dunedin, combining coding (our Bachelor of Information Technology students) with modelling, world-building and game narratives (Bachelor of Design-Communication).

    “We welcome the chance to contribute even more to our city’s growing creative economy,” Ker says.

    “Also, our EduBits micro-credentialing programme offers a highly flexible mechanism for meeting immediate workforce development needs.”

  • Diwali on Campus (October 29 2019)

    It was great to see so many students and staff at our Diwali celebration on campus on Friday. We hope you all enjoyed the event. You can check out the photos here.

  • Success Story: Abida Manzoor (October 22 2019)

    Abida Manzoor faced a big cultural change when she moved to New Zealand to study, but with the help of OPAIC’s team of staff she’s excelling here.

    Abida says students sometimes struggle when they first arrive because they come from different cultures with different methods of education.

    She had difficulty with her first assessment, then took feedback from her lecturers around what they expected from her.

    “That was the major turning point for me. As soon as I understood the lecturers’ expectations, I think it’s gone good for me ever since.”

    One major difference in the style of study here is that programmes are very practical.

    “You basically have to learn to think practically. And that’s the good part about this course, because when you go out in the industry, you know what you have to do.”

    It's very important for students to understand how requirements in New Zealand might differ from those back home, says Abida.

    “You have to take initiative and try to understand the expectations of your lecturers and what the course is about.”

    “If you give it 100 percent and you know what is expected of you, you will always succeed.”

    Abida says her lecturers are always ready to give feedback when she asks. She’s also benefited from the Learning Support Team on Level 8, which provides group workshops and one-on-one peer tutoring. 

    Additionally, the Student Success Team makes students feel very comfortable when they first arrive in New Zealand – organising trips and events to help them get acquainted with the place. She enjoys the social activities they organise and says it’s important for students to get out and make friends rather than focusing only on study.

    Abida works hard to balance her study with a part-time job and hobbies. She has a fashion blog and she’s written an e-book.

    She already holds an MBA and undertook the Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Management because she liked the up-to-date subjects on offer such as digital marketing and information systems.

    Next, she has her sights set on Harvard, having lived and worked in the United States in the past.

    “I’ve always followed my dreams, always followed my goals. I think hard work is the key to everything. If you believe in your dreams and you work hard you can always reach where you want to reach. So, I would want to be a Harvard PhD one day.”

    Abida loves New Zealand and would like to return here to start her own business.

    “I come from a very small place. It’s not even on Google maps, so it’s a very small place but I’ve always believed in my dreams and I believe that I can do something on my own.”

  • Block 5 Orientation underway (October 17 2019)

    We’ve got more than 115 new faces on campus this week.

    Academic Director, Professor Leoni Schmidt, welcomed our new students, during a day of Orientation talks and activities yesterday.

    She said they had courageously come from all over the world to Auckland, New Zealand.

    “We welcome you here and we celebrate your bravery and your courage.”

    Living in New Zealand was probably somewhat different to what they were used to, she said.

    “That is a fantastic thing because you have come to experience a new place, a new country, a new land, new people, new languages.”

    OPAIC was like a mini United Nations, where even the staff came from all over the world.

    “That is why you are all so welcome here, because each and every one of you will bring something unique to this place.”

    Leoni invited the students to become part of the campus in every possible way. She said they should work hard inside the classroom and out and get to know people from other countries.

    “Because this is such a unique opportunity.”

    Learning Support Advisor Katy Lockwood took the students through academic expectations, covering attendance, assessments, English language ability, engagement and attitude, workload, self-study, academic integrity and group work.

    Student Counsellor Sunjin Heo then talked to students about how she could help them with any issues they might face from cultural difficulties to stress.

    She would listen to any stories they wished to tell in a non-judgement, respectful and confidential environment, she said.

    Yesterday, students also heard short talks from a range of external guests including Auckland Transport, the NZ AIDS Foundation, Citizens Advice Bureau, Student Card, Les Mills, 2 Degrees, and Conservation Volunteers NZ.

    Orientation activities continues today with introductions to academic programmes, and an employability afternoon.

    Check out all of the photos over on Facebook.

  • Inaugural brewing scholarship recipients announced (October 15 2019)

    Otago Polytechnic, in conjunction with Capable NZ and Otago Brew School, has announced the first two recipients of brewing scholarships.

    Cameron Burgess, of Southpaw Brewing Company Ltd (New Brighton, Christchurch), has been awarded a scholarship to study the New Zealand Diploma in Brewing (Level 6)  and will start the six-month programme in November.

    Jesse Foley, of Altitude Brewing, Queenstown, has been awarded the scholarship for the New Zealand Certificate in Brewing (Level 5), and recently started his studies.

    The scholarships are aimed at those who have gained significant experience, knowledge and skills through their work within the New Zealand brewing industry, but do not have a formal qualification that recognises this.

    Cameron says the scholarship means a lot to him.

    “I have always valued education very highly. With my young family and my business, without this course and scholarship I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to finish my brewing study.”

    Jesse says the scholarship will enable him to scale another rung on the brewing ladder.

    “I have a chance to have a career in an industry that I enjoy.  It's very hands-on, physical work, which I find gives me a feeling of daily fulfilment. 

    “Brewing also allows for continuous experimentation, designing beers for changing seasons and palates.”

    Otago Polytechnic’s unique range of brewing qualifications have been designed to meet industry needs as well as offer a learning experience that fits with learners’ lifestyle.

    Otago Brew School is Otago Polytechnic’s newly established Cromwell-based school and is now delivering the first New Zealand brewing qualifications in conjunction with Capable NZ.

    Capable NZ, Otago Polytechnic, enables people to have the knowledge, skills and learning gained through their career, measured against an NZQA-endorsed qualification, to gain a qualification through their workplace.

    Read about our Brewing programmes

    Read about our Brewing scholarships


  • Boosting confidence with local experience (October 9 2019)

    Management student Samuel Alonso has come away from his MediaWorks placement confident about his professional future in New Zealand.

    Sam says he was so keen to get into the New Zealand workforce that he approached OPAIC’s Corporate Relations Team soon after he began his qualification.

    “It is very important to get local experience,” he says.

    The Corporate Relations Team helped him line up a placement at MediaWorks, where he has been interning as a finance assistant for the past six months.

     “I feel more confident about the Kiwi work culture and I feel that I am building up my English skills. In general, I feel more prepared for my next professional experience.”

    Sam already had expertise in finance, having worked as a finance manager for hotels in Malta.

    During his placement he learned about the kiwi culture, media relations, and the complex internal processes of large companies. His poster project proposing a transformation of the Casual Wages Process at MediaWorks won first prize at this year’s OPAIC research Showcase.

    Sam will soon begin another internship at private air travel company Inflite Charters Limited. It’s a fast-growing company and he hopes there might be opportunities for him there beyond his internship.

    Sam expects to have a good professional experience in New Zealand once his post-study work visa comes through.

    “I can feel the difference between when I just started and now. I feel more confident about my future.”

    Students should start thinking from both an academic and a professional point of view early on in their study, he says.

    He advises students just starting on the placement journey to form good working relationships and be respectful, positive, and kind.

    “You have to be enthusiastic and proactive.”

    He says it’s important to understand that both the academic experience and the work experience here could have benefits into the future.

    “All these classmates and all these co-workers are going to be part of your network.”

    Hear Sam speak about his placement over on our YouTube channel.

  • Student safety and wellbeing paramount at Otago Polytechnic (September 27 2019)

    Otago Polytechnic regards the safety and wellbeing of all its students as paramount.

    Otago Polytechnic, in conjunction with Campus Living Villages (CLV), has a broad range of systems and processes in place to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the student residents (of which there are currently 226) at regards Te Pā Tauira – Otago Polytechnic Student Village.

    As well as a fulltime Village Manager, there are three other staff, including a Community Manager, Evening Duty Manager and Customer Services Administrator. In addition, there are six Residential Assistants (RA) (one RA per each floor, with one extra RA as “cover”).

    “We actively encourage a culture of caring at Te Pā Tauira,” Philip Cullen, Deputy Chief Executive, Otago Polytechnic, says.

    “We have range of proactive measures to keep students safe. We have active channels to document any concerns around students and residents. Our student support team, our lecturers and our counsellors pass on any concerns they have around health, demeanour and behaviour.

    “For example, a student’s regular absence from class would be passed on to the Village Manager and/or the Community Manager to follow up.

    “Currently, residents are required to have at least one face-to-face meeting a month with a staff member or Residential Assistant. This provides a forum for students to relay any concerns and allows us to closely monitor student wellbeing.

    “We are currently looking at changing the frequency of these meetings to fortnightly, but need to balance this pastoral care with respect for residents’ privacy.

    “Any residents experiencing difficulties are encouraged to meet with the village manager.

    “The Village Manager and Community Manager also maintain an active spreadsheet that documents any concerns.

    “Te Pā Tauira is also directly adjacent to student health and counselling services and these experts interact closely with Te Pā staff.

    “We believe the layout of Te Pā Tauira is vital to the wellbeing and interaction of residents, too.

    “For example, the main office is positioned next to the main entrance and main ground-floor common room, meaning there is regular and close interaction between staff and residents.

    “This proximity also enables staff to observe, supervise and advise residents.

    “In addition, the Village Manager, Community Manager and Evening Duty Manager have regular dialogue and interaction with residents, checking with students and helping with any concerns or issues.

    “Cleaning staff are also required to report any concerns, including reporting evidence of activity – and inactivity – that might signal something is amiss.

    “Weekly rubbish days require residents to place their rubbish bags outside their doors. Also, fortnightly hygiene checks of apartments and studios – but not bedrooms or dormitory bedroom areas – provide another means by which any concerns may be highlighted.

    “We have a good relationship with Campus Living Villages, which has developed appropriately strong guidelines and procedures.

    “We also have an annual resident survey, during which we ask for feedback and suggestions and we act accordingly.”

  • New World staff set to graduate from Whitestone Cheese Affineur Academy (September 23 2019)

    Now, here’s a recipe for success.

    Mix the innovation of Otago Polytechnic’s EduBits micro-credentials with the expertise of award-winning Oamaru company Whitestone Cheese.

    Add the desire of an employer to upskill staff.

    The result: a New World delicatessen crew raring to pass on their new-found cheese knowledge to customers.

    This week, deli staff members at New World’s Long Bay supermarket on Auckland’s North Shore will be among the first in-work learners to graduate from the Whitestone Cheese Co. Affineur Academy.

    An EduBits-based online micro-learning and assessment experience aimed at upskilling hospitality workers and cheese enthusiasts, the Affineur Academy is the result of extensive collaboration between Otago Polytechnic and Whitestone.

    Otago Polytechnic’s is New Zealand’s leading provider of accessible work-based skills assessments via its ever-growing and varied suite of EduBits. “Basic Affineur Skills” is one of 120 micro-credentials.

    The first in a suite of cheese-related EduBits to be rolled out, “Basic Affineur Skills” provides a rich introduction to cheese, covering cheese-related history, natural processes, facts, flavour matchings, handling techniques and ideas, and includes exclusive access to a video tutorial by celebrated New Zealand chef Josh Emett on how to design and prepare the perfect cheese board.

    Having achieved the Basic Affineur Skills EduBit, the New World Long Bay deli staff members are now able to share their cheese knowledge and handling skills with customers and clients.

    New World Long Bay supermarket co-owner Marcus Te Brake says this is of great value to not only his staff but to his business as a whole.

    “There is value in my deli staff being able to converse with customers on the subject of cheese. It presents upselling opportunities. As a business owner, this additional knowledge provides a marketplace edge. It contributes to the overall ‘customer experience’ and adds credibility to our fresh foods offerings.

    “It has also resulted in an increase in general engagement from the respective team members. They are definitely more confident.”

    Marcus says EduBits’ “bite-sized” method of professional development enables employees to upskill while in-work, which make them stand out from other professional development options.

    “They are highly approachable.”

    Whitestone Cheese Managing Director Simon Berry, who took the idea for the Affineur Academy to Otago Polytechnic cookery senior lecturer Chris Smith after "spotting a gap in the market", says some of his own staff are about to graduate with the Basic Affineur Skills EduBit.

    “This is about walking the talk. It’s a matter of credibility.

    “For example, Whitestone’s National Sales & Trade Marketing Manager, Franco Sessa, has just been awarded his Basic Affineur Skills EduBit,” Simon says.

    “Franco now has a digital credential proving this knowledge. In fact, it’s part of his email signature. This is powerful messaging for Whitestone, both as a brand and as an employer.

    “We are developing the market so people who handle cheese have a greater understanding – they can go on to provide consumers, in both home and restaurant environments, a greater cheese experience.”

    Chris Smith says the Affineur Academy EduBit is empowering at both an individual and industry level.

    “Being a chef, I guess one of the really curious things about making a cheese board is nobody really knows what to do. We just kind of cut up a few cheeses, put them on a plate with a selection of nuts and crackers and whatever else. It’s always pretty basic.

    “We’re trying to do is raise the profile and knowledge around cheese, which thus enhances others’ experience,” Chris explains.

    “In short, it’s about getting the people who handle cheese – for example, deli staff or chefs – to know more about the product and what to match it with, and to relay that knowledge to the customer.”

    Read more about the Basic Affineur Skills EduBit, which is recognised as equivalent to 5 Credits on the NZQF at Level 4 and has been awarded by Otago Polytechnic, an NZQA-accredited Category One provider.

    Read more about EduBits, New Zealand’s premier micro-credentialing service.

    Caption: New World Long Bay staff members Eleanor McKibbon (left) and Maia Wood and Whitestone Cheese Co. National Sales & Trade Marketing Manager, Franco Sessa, celebrate receiving their Basic Affineur Skills EduBit at a ceremony in Auckland.

    Photo credit: Brendon O'Hagan


  • Volunteering at the Auckland City Mission (September 23 2019)

    A group of students and staff spent four hours volunteering at the Auckland City Mission on Friday.

    The group prepared food, served lunch to more than 120 people, and washed the dishes.

    Placement Coordinator, Anastasia Timoshkina, said the students treated the guests as friends. 

    "In general, it was amazing experience. All the students felt that they contributed to the society somehow and they would love to repeat this experience."

    It's the second time our students have volunteered at the Auckland City Mission. We'll return with another group at the end of November.

  • Hockey Scholarship recipients announced (September 16 2019)

    Congratulations to Abby Lennon and Taylor Duffy, recipients of the inaugural Otago Polytechnic and Otago Hockey Scholarship.

    Originally from Gore, Abby will begin studying for a Bachelor of Nursing at Otago Polytechnic in 2020, while Taylor will study Occupational Therapy.

    The scholarships cover a maximum of three years study, depending on the specific programme, and will take effect from the beginning of 2020.

    The scholarships are performance-based: recipients must meet the entry criteria for their programme of study and are required to pass 70% of their programme each year; they are also required to consistently perform at a high (representative) sporting level.

    “Sports scholarships like these allow hockey to present the option of study to young up-and-coming athletes from around Otago and New Zealand,” says Megan Gibbons, Acting Deputy Chief Executive Learner Experience, Otago Polytechnic.

    “This has to be good for both our local and regional sport and the education providers in the city.”

    Abby, who played for the Rangi Ruru 1st XI, went on to be a key member of a successful Canterbury Under-18 regional team, a member of the Canterbury Cats National League squad, and was selected in the New Zealand Under-18 programme in 2018.

    Taylor has played for the Southern Under-18 and Under-21 teams as well as the title-winning Momona Hockey Club after being a stalwart of the successful St Hilda's 1st XI.

    Otago Hockey General Manager Andy McLean says the initiative is exciting news for young hockey players throughout New Zealand.

    “Dunedin is a fantastic place to combine tertiary education and sporting ambition.

    “The hockey turf is adjacent to Otago Polytechnic’s Student Village, Te Pā Tauira, and Otago Polytechnic’s campus is just across the road. And High Performance Sport New Zealand is just around the corner at the stadium. It is pretty special,” McLean says.

    Read about all our Scholarships

  • Success Story: Dmitrii Golyshev (September 16 2019)

    Dmitrii Golyshev was struck by the friendly and relaxed nature of New Zealanders when he made the move here from Moscow.

    He and his family had been thinking about moving overseas for a few years before he attended a seminar about overseas educational services in 2017.

    He met OPAIC’s marketing manager for Russia there and they spoke about life in New Zealand.

    “Despite never being in New Zealand before I felt that this could be a comfortable place for my family,” said Dmitrii.

    He and his family decided to first visit New Zealand as tourists. They found they loved the country and they took the opportunity to discuss study options available at OPAIC.  

    As soon as they returned home to Russia, they began preparing for the move.

    Moving to New Zealand was like coming to another planet but he and his wife loved the country and the relaxed nature of the people.

    “People here are really, really open-minded and friendly to other people.”

    When they first arrived, their landlord helped them with their grocery shopping until they got a car and helped with other things too.

    Dmitrii says another great feature of New Zealand is that you are always near a beach.

    He also likes smaller cities outside of Auckland. He’s travelled around the North Island with his family – going to Napier, Tauranga, Rotorua, Wellington and Taupo.

    “You have a lot of beautiful places here. A lot of beautiful spots - nature. You feel like you are part of this nature.”

    Dmitrii’s family now lives in central Auckland, where he says there are many opportunities to socialise and meet people. They can walk anywhere they need to go in 10 to 15 minutes.

    Dmitrii has just finished his Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Management. He says studying was more challenging than he expected, particularly because he was studying in a new language and it had been many years since he’d completed his last qualification.

    Educational methods were also different in New Zealand. Students were encouraged to express their points of view and think critically, which he says is important.

    On top of study, Dmitrii got involved in extracurricular activities at OPAIC. He was a student ambassador and took part in volunteering activities.

    Back home Dmitrii has worked in senior roles in marketing, advertising and media. Now that he’s finished his study, he hopes to find work in one of those industries in New Zealand.

  • Otago Polytechnic receives international award for OERu course (September 12 2019)

    An online course developed by Otago Polytechnic for the OERu international network headquartered in Dunedin has won the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) Award for Excellence in Distance Education Materials.

    The “Learning in a Digital Age” course won the Open Educational Resources (OER) category and was announced at the ninth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning in Edinburgh, Scotland, on 11 September 2019.

    The Pan-Commonwealth Forum is a triennial gathering organised by COL for the 53 member states of the Commonwealth, to increase the capacity of developing nations to meet the demand for access to quality education and training.

    This year’s forum, co-hosted by the UK’s Open University, a founding partner of the Open Educational Resources universitas (OERu), has attracted over 600 delegates from more than 60 countries.

    The Excellence in Distance Education Awards are a highlight of the forum, recognising institutional achievement and excellence in open distance education. 

    “OER-enabled online courses, which learners can study for free, provide unprecedented access to educational opportunities around the world,” says Dr Wayne Mackintosh, New Zealand’s UNESCO Chair in OER at Otago Polytechnic. 

    “We are proud that OERu’s rigorous planning and commitment to the design of innovative and high quality OER courses has been recognised through this award by an intergovernmental organisation of COL’s stature.”

    Ms Andy Brown, Head of Academic Development at the University of the Highlands and Islands in Scotland, accepted the award on behalf of the OERu international network. The “Learning in a Digital Age” course is recognised for academic credit towards the Certificate of Higher Education in Business conferred by the University, and is the OERu’s first UK-based qualification gained exclusively through OER online courses. 

    Headquartered at Otago Polytechnic, the OERu is an exemplar of sustainable philanthropy by promoting the creation and unrestricted re-use of free educational resources. 

    Recently, Otago Polytechnic approved “Learning in a Digital Age” for inclusion as an elective course in some of its own degree programmes. In this way, Otago Polytechnic learners will benefit directly from the OERu’s international development work, while having the unique opportunity to interact with learners across five continents.

    The OERu is committed to utilising open education approaches to support learning for development. This year, the OERu has established an Outreach Partnership Programme whereby qualifying institutions in the developing world can join this international network for free, and assist in promoting uptake of the ‘Learning in a Digital Age’ micro-courses for learners. The August 2019 cohort offering of the course enrolled 800 learners from 66 different countries, with 70% of participants residing in developing countries. 

    “The OERu's core mission is to widen access to more affordable education with pathways to achieve credible credentials, especially for learners currently excluded from the privilege of a tertiary education,” says Emeritus Professor Jim Taylor, member of the OER Foundation Board and Honorary Fellow of the Commonwealth of Learning (COL).

    “Many educators believe in expanding affordable access to higher education, but what may be difficult for institutions to deliver individually becomes possible through active participation in the OERu international innovation partnership."

    About COL

    The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) was created by Commonwealth Heads of Government in 1987, to promote the development and sharing of open learning and distance education knowledge, resources, and technologies. Hosted by the Government of Canada, COL is the world’s only intergovernmental organisation solely concerned with the promotion and development of distance education and open learning.

    About OERu

    Following an international open meeting with funding support from UNESCO, the Open Education Resource universitas (OERu) was established in 2011 to facilitate access to open online courses for learners around the world.

    A growing international network of socially motivated institutions contributes to the creation of OERu courses and provides affordable opportunities for learners to gain academic credit towards recognised qualifications. Operational costs for shared OERu infrastructure are funded through membership in the OER Foundation, an independent, not-for-profit organisation established in 2009 by Otago Polytechnic. Surplus revenue is invested into charitable activities for the benefit of the network. OERu partners donate OERu course content for free, but may charge a small fee to learners for assessment and credentialing services.

  • Fashion meets sustainability (August 30 2019)

    New Zealand Fashion Week has provided our business students with the perfect opportunity to get out of the classroom and put principles of sustainability into practice.

    Students in our Implementing Sustainable Practice course visited Auckland Central City Library yesterday, where they learned how to use vintage sewing machines to work with repurposed materials.

    The sewing workshops are part of the library’s New Zealand Fashion Week events.

    Business lecturer, Sanjay Sharma, said the visit allowed students to explore the three pillars of sustainability – economic, environmental, and social. It was also a good lesson in how to reduce consumption.

  • Industry guest for Construction students (August 29 2019)

    Our Construction students had the opportunity to hear from an experienced industry guest yesterday. 

    Red Zhou is a quantity surveyor who has been working at Hawkins since 2006.

    Yesterday he delivered a workshop to quantity surveying students from a number of different cohorts. The topic of the workshop was Estimating and Measurement: work-based examples and challenges of a junior quantity surveyor.

    The challenges discussed included conditions of the tender requirement, reading drawings and specifications, and teamwork and collaboration.

    Ways to overcome those challenges included communicating, asking questions, and time management.

    Construction Lecturer, LipWah Ho, said the session was a great opportunity for students to connect to the industry. It allowed them to relate what they’d learned in the classroom to the real world.

    Students enjoyed the workshop citing good and helpful insights into Red’s experience as a junior quantity surveyor working his way up to a senior quantity surveyor position.

    Lip said students also found the advice given by Red helpful in terms of choosing a quantity surveying career path based on one’s strengths.

    “Last but not least, students now feel more confident to take on the challenges of the future.”

  • Employer priorities (August 27 2019)

    Preliminary findings from our Learner Capability Framework (LCF) research project are now available.

    In 2018 51 staff interviewed 163 employers to find out which learner capabilities employers most wanted in their new employees. Initial analysis of the recorded interviews identified the top 10 learner capabilities that were prioritised by employers in each industry sector, from a list of 25 capabilities developed from earlier research. Transcription of the interviews is under way now, so that deeper analysis can be undertaken.

    On 26 and 27 March we shared the preliminary results from the interviews with our staff, especially those who had conducted the interviews. They were keen to see the results and to include these in programme reviews and curriculum planning. 

    We have developed the LCF Employer Priorities Index booklet for dissemination to staff and to employers and stakeholders interviewed. This will also be shared with the implementation team for inclusion in their online tool and for further use for curriculum development. The booklet provides context and an introduction to the development of the LCF, the capabilities index to inform curriculum development, and an indicative barometer of what each sector considers are important capabilities in their employees.

    Preliminary findings were reported to tertiary educators in other institutions at a national symposium on 15/16 April, to participating employers on 15 May, and to other organisations on 22 May, at an event hosted by the Otago Southland Employers Association. Research in 2019 was undertaken with assistance from Ako Aotearoa's National Project Fund.

    Read the Employer Priorities Index here.

    May 2019

    Ako Logo Navy RGB Trademark

  • Analysis of Employer Interviews (August 27 2019)

    We've now completed the detailed analysis of the employer interviews about Learner Capabilities.

    During the Phase One research, during 2018, detailed notes and recordings were taken during the employer interviews. These identified both the 10 most desirable capabilities that related to the research clusters, and also a wealth of information relating to the different nuances associated with this phase of the study and the workplace. With funding from Ako Aotearoa, in 2019 we have transcribed and analysed the long-form interview, extrapolating further nuanced information from each employer’s interview that gives colour to their choices for the 10 most desirable capabilities. It also provides other interpretations of the ideas of capabilities in the workplace, and for graduates. The findings will inform the research team going forward and the implementation team around the mapping of the tool into the classroom.

    You can read about the results sector by sector in our Employer Transcript Analysis, presenting the summary analyses of interview transcripts for 15 areas. The priorities mentioned above can be recognised in these analyses but more information is also made available. For example, the employer/stakeholder views on complexities around capabilities, and impressions of the Learner Capability Framework as a whole. It also canvases their experiences of Otago Polytechnic graduates, ideas about the online tool for tracking evidence of capabilities, and reflections of Otago Polytechnic education for capabilities and competencies. Salient comments by employers/stakeholders are included.

    The Employer Transcript Analysis is available online here.

    We have also made available the toolkit of resources that we used for this stage of the research.

    August 2019

    Ako Logo Navy RGB Trademark

  • Success Story: Akshay Varasadiya (August 20 2019)

    Akshay Varasadiya never considered coming to New Zealand before his friend recommended OPAIC.

    “He told me Otago Polytechnic is one of the best in Auckland city, so you should apply at this college,” Akshay says.

    After researching the polytechnic and getting feedback from past students, Akshay decided to sign up.

    The move to New Zealand was his first overseas trip. He’s glad he selected New Zealand and feels proud of the country when he discusses it with friends studying in the USA, Australia and Canada.

    “Compared to that, New Zealand is the best, for study, culture, atmosphere, for everything.”

    He says New Zealand is all about unity and diversity. He can meet all kinds of people and get global exposure here. 

    Akshay says the best parts about studying at OPAIC were the lectures, the friendly culture, and the personal attention he received. During the Graduate Diploma in Information Technology, he learned about business, and marketing as well as IT. 

    Now that he’s finished his diploma he’s started his own company, called SmartBrainz, with a former professor. He says he's putting everything he learned at at the polytechnic into practice in his work.

    Akshay is the project manager for the company which specialises in website development, application development (android and IOS), software development, search engine optimisation, digital marketing, and all kinds of graphic services.

    It’s only been going a few months but has already has several clients. One business they work with is a cosmetic salon where Akshay completed an internship during his time at OPAIC.

    Akshay managed to secure some additional clients during a recent Showcase on campus, which brought students, staff and industry partners together to share research.

    Read more about the Graduate Diploma in Information Technology.

  • Central Campus students win medals at national culinary competition (August 14 2019)

    A team from Otago Polytechnic’s Central Campus has won gold and silver medals in the Kitchen and Front of House sections of the prestigious annual Nestlé Toque d’Or student culinary competition.

    Culinary students Charlie Burton and Edson Sy proved to be strong competitors in the kitchen, claiming a silver for their three-course menu comprising Akaroa salmon pave, followed by oven-roasted New Zealand beef sirloin and chocolate finger crunch bar.

    Pitted against competitors from around New Zealand, the students were required to create a three-course menu at the competition.

    The pressure was on throughout the three-hour live kitchen cook-off, as the team battled the clock and the scrutiny of top industry judges. Any errors made by competitors during the event resulted in lost points.

    Competing teams were marked against WorldChefs International Judging Standards, which included food preparation, presentation, taste and service.

    Harmanish Kaur Rangi won a gold medal, impressing patrons with her front-of-house service skill-set in a simulated restaurant at NZMA in Mt Wellington, Auckland.

    In addition, Otago Polytechnic’s Central Campus won the Moffat Innovation Award. An integral part of the competition, it requires teams to use a Nestlé Professional product outside of its intended application.

    This year was the 29th anniversary of Nestlé Toque d’Or, which is New Zealand’s longest running and most prestigious student cookery and restaurant service event. Held in 17 other countries around the world, it has launched the careers of many world-famous chefs.

    Photo caption: Otago Polytechnic Central Campus Culinary students Charlie Burton (left) and Edson Sy cook up a storm at the prestigious annual Nestlé Toque d’Or competition at NZMA, Auckland.

    Read more about our Hospitality programme


  • Welcoming our new students (August 8 2019)

    Our newest students are learning about everything OPAIC has to offer at this week’s Orientation.

    We’re welcoming students from countries including Russia, Nepal, China, Philippines, Brazil, Malaysia, India, Thailand and Vietnam for Study Block 4.

    ICT and Facilities Manager Sonny Teio began yesterday’s Orientation activities with a traditional Māori introduction, or Mihi.

    He talked about how his parents had come to New Zealand to achieve their dream of providing a better life for their children. Sonny says he got educated at Otago Polytechnic and is now living an amazing life because of the sacrifices his parents made.

    Sonny said he knew the students arriving this week had also come with a dream or a vision, and the OPAIC team would do its very best to help them succeed.

    Executive Director: Academic Alex McKegg then welcomed the students to Tāmaki Makaurau.

    “What I know about all of you is that you are brave and adventurous. You’ve left your homes and families and everything that was comfortable, and you’ve come to New Zealand to take up the challenges of studying in a new country.”

    She encouraged them to bring that adventurous spirit to their studies. She said our experiential learning and teaching approach might be different to what they were used to - they would have the opportunity to develop their capabilities as well as their technical knowledge. They would also have the chance to engage with industry, develop their employability skills, and socialise with other students.

    Student Success Manager Annemarie Meijnen told students they had made a great choice in coming to OPAIC.

    “We’ve got outstanding academic staff and dedicated teams of service professionals here to support you at every step of your learning journey.”

    Yesterday’s activities also included a Maori Cultural Performance, presentations, quizzes, games, and a campus tour.

    Orientation continues today with programme introductions from department heads, and an Emloyability afternoon.

    Check out our Orientation photos over on Facebook.

  • Promoting employability thinking (August 7 2019)

    OPAIC staff are getting familiar with the latest research around graduate employability through a series of interactive workshops.

    Senior Researcher: Learner Capability Implementation, Dr Behnam Soltani, is leading five sessions with each OPAIC team. Each session focuses on a separate theme. Those themes are cultural capital, social capital, psychological capital, identity capital, and human capital.

    The sessions are based on research findings from interviews with 50 New Zealand employers around graduate employability. They cover theoretical frameworks, extracts from employer narratives, and practical implications for teaching and learning. The workshops are designed to promote employability thinking among staff and students.

  • Success Story: Farjana Rahman (August 6 2019)

    Interning at The Peace Foundation was an eye-opener for Farjana Rahman, who now knows what she wants to do in her career.

    Farjana recently finished the Graduate Diploma in Applied Management at OPAIC. She spent time interning at The Peace Foundation as part of her course. The organisation offers programmes, services and resources that help establish and maintain peaceful relationships. Those resources are used in schools, homes and communities, in New Zealand and overseas.

    Farjana has always had an interest in the not for profit sector and has previously worked as a teacher. She came to New Zealand because she wanted to test her capabilities in an international environment and prove herself.

    The Corporate Relations Team at OPAIC took her interests into account when they helped her to secure her internship.

    Farjana interned as a data base officer, updating school information in The Peace Foundation’s database and looking for gaps in communication between the Foundation and the schools.

    She says it was a great learning opportunity for her.

    Her vision has become clear since completing her internship and diploma and her dream has become bigger.

    “My focus is on serving and developing the education sector and making a difference in students’ lives.”

    She says she's seen great examples of how to do that from the teachers who helped her throughout her course.

    “The strategies they are implementing and the ways they teach are amazing.”

    They taught her all the relevant theory, as well as how to implement that theory in the business world and she enjoyed that study approach.

    “I really like the way they put all the knowledge into practice. That’s quite important for us.”

    Farjana says she also got a lot of help from student support services at OPAIC.

    “The way they empower students is amazing. They really find the potential in the students. I really appreciate the way they found out my potential.”

  • Health education through games (July 18 2019)

    Computer games can help young people learn how to look after their health.

    One of New Zealand's health problems is the increasing number of children and adolescents with type 2 diabetes, which may be related to an increasing prevalence of obesity. Type 2 diabetes develops when the body becomes resistant to the effects of insulin and/or when the pancreas gland stops producing enough insulin. Insulin is a hormone that promotes the uptake of glucose from the blood into cells so that it can be metabolised (broken down) and used by the body as an energy source. 

    Dr Nilufar Baghaei, Head of Information Technology department at our Auckland International Campus, led a team to design and develop mobile games to help children learn about type 2 diabetes. Starting with the open source version of Mario, they modified it so that Mario has diabetes. While Mario runs and jumps over obstacles to rescue the princess, he also has to watch his blood sugar. The character needs to make decisions about food options that present themselves, eg a chocolate bar versus an apple. The game shows children the difference between these foods on the character's energy levels, which increase quickly and then go down quickly if the chocolate is chosen for example.

    The game is a tool to educate young people about type 2 diabetes to help them achieve a healthier lifestyle and prevent the development of diabetes. Nilufar is currently working with a team at the University of Auckland, led by Dr Ralph Maddison, and Middlemore Hospital on a clinical trial which has Health Research Council funding 2017-2019. The clinical trial will test the changes in knowledge of diabetes which the game can achieve. This research project paves the way for the systematic design and development of full-fledged computer games dedicated to diabetes education in the future.

  • Success Story: Fabianna Cinelli Maroni (July 16 2019)

    Recent graduate Fabianna Cinelli got great work experience interning at a top hotel chain in Auckland, during her time at OPAIC.

    Now she’s moved to Wellington to start her career in New Zealand.

    She came to New Zealand because her partner wanted to start a new life here. Since arriving, Fabianna’s fallen in love with the country, its culture, and the lifestyle.

     “I chose OPAIC because I believe it is a solid, well known and recognised institution where I could learn and have support to develop myself and my career.”

    Fabianna says she was keen to find an internship while she studied, and didn’t mind if it was paid or not.

    Fabianna previously completed a bachelor’s degree in communication and psychology in Brazil and has experience working in human resources.

    But she knew she had to take things a step at a time since she was starting a new life in a new country and speaking a different language.

    “The main goal was to learn and understand the work environment in New Zealand.”

    She also wanted to create networking opportunities, develop herself as a professional, do some team work, and gain knowledge of New Zealand law.

    Last but not least, she wanted to gain confidence in a new environment with a new language.

    Fabianna says she had the support of the Corporate Relations and Employability staff at OPAIC. They helped her find her internship at one of the biggest hotel chains in the world.

     “As soon my internship came to an end, I got a job offer and I’m about to start my career in NZ.”

    Fabianna will be working in human resources in Wellington.

    Read more about the Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Management.

  • Incorporating culture into teaching (July 18 2019)

    Information Technology lecturer Dr Suhaimi (Hymie) Latif brought his cultural background into his Graduate Diploma in Tertiary Education, which he recently completed through Capable NZ.

    His Model of Practice was based on three Islamic concepts called Ta’lim, Tarbiyah and Ta’dib.

    Ta’lim refers to the transmission of knowledge, Tarbiyah to human development, and Ta’dib to ethics and discipline.

    Hymie says the three processes are interrelated and the holistic three-process model now guides his unique identity as an educator. 

    During his qualification, Hymie reflected on his personal history and professional growth from an industry professional to an academic lecturer.

    He says he’s grateful to the CapableNZ facilitator Jeremy Taylor, and assessors David McMaster and Heather Carpenter for their inspiring comments and feedback.

    “David surprised me with his excellent pronunciation of a few Arabic terms presented in my portfolio.  Heather’s experience in assessment design is truly inspirational.”

    “Terima Kasih (Thank you) to my facilitator Jeremy Taylor for his guidance and comments throughout my journey.”

  • Creating learner-centred environments (July 17 2019)

    Principal lecturer Dr Indrapriya (Indra) Kularatne undertook the Graduate Diploma in Tertiary Education to gain theoretical and practical knowledge in the field of tertiary education, which he could apply in his day-to-day teaching.

    He says he’s learned about concepts and theories of teaching. He now knows more about designing interesting teaching sessions, creating learner-centred class environments and developing effective assessments.

    Indra has started applying a number of new approaches in his teaching since completing the qualification.

    These include using online Ed-tech tools in classroom activities. He also uses well-designed group work activities enabling students to engage in academic work equitably and share their knowledge with the group members.

    Indra says he’s been working hard to create a warm, welcoming, learner-centred and friendly classroom environment.

    Indra completed the programme by distance study through the Otago Polytechnic Dunedin Campus.

    “Studying while working was a challenge. I used my professional development block effectively to complete most of my course work.”

    He says the course was led and facilitated by a team of highly experienced teaching staff who provided excellent support. He especially thanked Dr Bronwyn Hegarty for her guidance and support throughout the course.

  • Addressing the diverse needs of learners (July 15 2019)

    All of our teaching staff are experts in their fields, with academic and industry experience. Recently, many have been working to upskill themselves by completing the Graduate Diploma in Tertiary Education through Otago Polytechnic.

    This week we’ll introduce you to three staff members who have recently completed the diploma and outline how the experience has shaped the way they teach.

    Construction Lecturer Dr Don Samarasinghe says the Graduate Diploma in Tertiary Education taught him about effective learning and teaching strategies.

    He learned to design and deliver an inclusive curriculum to address the diverse needs of learners.

    Additionally, he can now construct and implement effective assessment practices for assessing learner progress and achievement.

     “Through this qualification, I am now confident to deliver better quality service to my students and OPAIC.”

    Don says he has transformed into a class facilitator who is far different from who he was before completing the GDTE.

    “I think now my presence in the class is warm and relaxed, allowing students to feel comfortable, which encourages them to be active participants in the lesson.”

    He believes that making students feel comfortable, safe and included promotes learning. Don says he acknowledges each student and they, in turn, support his teaching.

    “I use experiential learning activities integrated into my teaching style to bring high levels of student engagement.”

    Don gives his students opportunities to ask questions and get clarity.

    “I have become a person who regularly reflects on thoughtful feedback received from the students.”

    He’s learned about employing reflective processes to improve his practices and respond to relevant trends within the tertiary education context.

    “I believe that reflection supports sustainable education. My vision in my teaching career is to become an example of an educator who is knowledge-driven, research-active, creative, personable and supportive.”

  • Otago Polytechnic celebrates Distinguished Alumni Awards (May 23 2019)

    A broad range of passionate graduates were recognised at Otago Polytechnic’s 2019 Distinguished Alumni Awards.

    The awards ceremony, held at Manaaki on Friday 17 May, featured nine nominees, including award-winning, internationally recognised artist Michel Tuffery, Olympic and Commonwealth Games triathlete Tony Dodds, and Black Ferns rugby player Phillipa (Pip) Love.

    Otago Community Hospice Chief Executive Ginny Green was also honoured, along with fellow public health executives Heather Casey (Director of Nursing – Mental Health and Addictions, Southern District Health Board) and Kaye Cheetham (Director of Allied Health, SDHB).

    Previous winners of Distinguished Alumni Awards include visionary McDonald’s franchise owner Justin Stonelake, and New Zealand sports representatives Kelly Brazier (Rugby Sevens), Holly Robinson (Javelin), and DJ Forbes (Rugby Sevens).

    Otago Polytechnic’s 2019 Distinguished Alumni Awards recipients:

    Heather Casey, Diploma in Nursing (1992), Director of Nursing – Mental Health and Addictions, Southern District Health Board

    Kaye Cheetham, Diploma in Occupational Therapy (1993), Post-graduate Diploma in Occupational Therapy Practice (2003), Director of Allied Health, Southern District Health Board

    Tony Dodds, Diploma in Sporting Performance (2006), Triathlete

    Ginny Green, Diploma in Nursing (1991), Chief Executive Officer, Otago Community Hospice

    Phillipa (Pip) Love, Graduate Diploma in Physical Conditioning (Level 7) (2013), Strength and Conditioning Coach, Rugby Player

    Lorraine Ritchie, Diploma in Nursing (1987), Nurse Consultant, SDHB (part time), Professional Practice Fellow, University of Otago

    Michel Tuffery, Diploma in Fine Arts (Hons) majoring in printmaking (1988), Master of Fine Arts (Honorary) (2014), Artist, Tuffery Art Management

    Mike Waddell, NZ Certificate in Engineering (1983), Advanced Trade Certificate (Fitting and Turning) (1974), Director External Relations, Communications and Marketing, Otago Polytechnic

    Thomas Wynne, Bachelor of Social Services (Counselling) (2018), Media Advisor to the Cook Islands Prime Minister


  • Ako Aotearoa National Project Fund grant (March 13 2019)

    We are very pleased to announce that our Learner Capability research project has been awarded funding from Ako Aotearoa for 2019/20.

    This grant will enable us to build on the work already undertaken in 2018, when 50 staff members  interviewed more than 160 employers and stakeholders in a range of professions and industries. We have summarised the interviews to pinpoint employers’ prioritisation of the learner capabilities that graduates need to enhance their employability. The interviews are also currently being transcribed and analysed for further, rich information about how we can improve our curriculae.

    Phase 2 this year will involve gathering information from our alumni about their experiences as graduates in the workplace and Phase 3 this year will focus on workplace observations to determine how capabilties play out in real world scenarios. This phase will tell us more about which capabilities will enhance the employability of graduates. Further phases are planned for 2020.

    The object is to deliver and implement a learner capability framework that enables learners to develop and evidence transferable capabilities that will set them up for success in employment.

  • Congratulations to our graduates (December 14 2018)

    A record 740 people are graduating in person from Otago Polytechnic today.

    More than 320 graduands took the stage for the first of two graduation ceremonies at the Dunedin Town Hall at 12.30pm, the qualifications including Information Technology, Nursing, Physical Activity, Health, Wellness and Sport, as well as business degrees earned through Capable New Zealand.

    Another 413 people graduated in person in the second ceremony at 3.30pm, qualifications including those gained through Otago Polytechnic’s Auckland campus, the Dunedin School of Art, as well as Design, Tourism, Early Childhood, and Social Services.

    Guest speakers at the ceremonies were former international netballer Jodie Brown and Tahu Potiki.

    A total of 840 people graduated in absentia, bringing the total to 1580, eclipsing Otago Polytechnic’s 2017 December graduate record of 1463.

    Watch the Otago Daily Times graduation parade video

    Check out our pre-parade photos

    Read graduate Kathy Howard’s inspiring story

  • Otago Polytechnic receives excellence award (November 1 2018)

    Otago Polytechnic has been presented with a prestigious organisational excellence award — the Baldrige-affiliated Performance Excellence Study Award (PESA).

    Errol Slyfield, Chief Executive of Business Excellence NZ, formally presented the award to Otago Polytechnic CEO Phil Ker at a ceremony at the Hub on Wednesday October 31.

    Also present was PESA evaluator Steven Garlick, who congratulated Otago Polytechnic on being the first organisation in New Zealand to undergo an assessment process comparable to that for the United States Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award – and to reach the required standard.

    Administered by Business Excellence NZ (endorsed by the American Society of Quality), the PESA involves rigorous examination by United States-based examiners against seven core Baldrige Performance Excellence Criteria to determine organisational excellence by world-class standards.

    The journey towards PESA recognition was initiated more than a decade ago by Phil Ker, who had a vision to develop and embed a culture committed to continuous improvement. 

    “I’m exceptionally proud to receive this award on behalf of Otago Polytechnic today,” Phil said at the ceremony.

    “The award recognises the robust and lengthy process we went through to develop a world-class institution, always seeking to do better.

    “Quality is never about instant gratification – it is about digging in for the long term, and our staff have done this.”

    The US Baldrige Performance Excellence Program is one of the most internationally recognised frameworks for business excellence. Globally, many countries operate national quality awards aligned with Baldrige or have similar core criteria.

    Key performance indicators and/or highlights noted by the examiners, include:

    • Otago Polytechnic’s strong organisational vision and culture of excellence
    • High levels of student satisfaction and employer satisfaction with Otago Polytechnic graduates
    • Excellent educational performance indicators (course completions, student progression, qualifications and course retention)
    • Sound financial performance and growth in overall EFTs/enrolments
    • High number of Ako Aotearoa Awards for Teaching Excellence
    • High levels of workforce engagement and staff satisfaction
    • Organisational agility and leading-edge innovation through a diverse provision of educational experiences. For example: EduBits, Otago Polytechnic’s suite of micro-credentials

    The award-winning application was Otago Polytechnic’s fourth attempt, the institution having made its first PESA submission in 2012. 

     “After each submission, we receive immensely valuable feedback, which guides our improvement action plans,” Joanne Greatbanks, Director: Performance Improvement explains.

     “Otago Polytechnic is passionate about providing our learners with a ‘wow!’ experience. In order to continue to put our learners at the centre of everything we do, we need to continuously evolve, drive and innovate.”  

     Jo Brady, Deputy Chief Executive: People, Performance and Development states:

     “It is true that our people make a better world. We now have a globally recognised award to prove it and we remain committed to continuous improvement as the journey doesn’t have an end point. Our work matters — it has impact and transforms lives, communities and economies.”



  • Ngā Kete unveiled (October 14 2018)

    The blessing and unveiling of our new sculpture, Ngā Kete, was held on Monday 15 October.

    View the photo gallery on Facebook. 

    Watch a video from the event.

    Created by award-winning artist and Dunedin School of Art distinguished alumnus Michel Tuffery (MNZM), the 2.5m sandcast bronze was selected after an extensive process involving more than eight proposals.

    Ngā Kete, which is positioned near the entrance to The Hub at our Dunedin Campus, serves as a reminder that those who enter Otago Polytechnic fill their kete with knowledge.

    Following a conch-horn welcome from Pesamino Tili, and a mihi and karakia led by Matapura Ellison, Phil Ker, Michel Tuffery, and Dunedin City Councillor Marie Laufiso all spoke.

    The event also included St Hilda's and John McGlashan Kapa Haka, John McGlashan pipers, and Le Apatonga and Koko Tuffery (Michel's daughter), who danced the ura pa'u. The music, song, dance and performance was a cross cultural ‘tour de force’, and an inspiration to all those who were present.

    Tuffery likened Ngā Kete to a midden, “a natural layering of metaphors weaving the kaupapa of the traditional, environmental and cultural with community and history”.

    The sculpture has been designed to function as a sundial within the courtyard. At night, up-lighting will enhance Ngā Kete’s woven textures.

    There is a stone from Rarotonga buried under the sculpture and the stone on the top is from Rakiura/Stewart Island – placed there by the artist.

    Ngā Kete is the first in a range of art works destined to create dialogue, intrigue and learning at our Dunedin campus. Our Art on Campus plan aims to enhance our cultural presence in Dunedin and continue to build the strong reputation of the Dunedin School of Art.

  • Staff forum video: Campus development (September 10 2018)

    If you missed the staff forum about our campus development plans, you can watch the video below. 

    There were a few technical glitches during the forum, but it's worth bearing with the video to learn more about our building plans and how the hospital rebuild will impact OP. 

    Watch the video here.

    Our next staff forum will be held on Friday 19 October. Jo Brady, DCE People, Performance and Development, will go through our Work Environment Survey (WES) results. 
    View the event listing here.

    View the building shading graphics here.

  • Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori (September 5 2018)

    Kia ora whanau, and welcome to Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori - Māori Language Week! 

    To celebrate, we're sharing a rerenga korero mō te rā (phrase of the day) every day of the week, and we've got some great activities happening throughout the week too. At lunchtimes during Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori we will be creating a Manu Aute (kite), and you're welcome to join and play some interactive games that incorporate Te Reo and Māori concepts. 


    Monday 10 September 

    Rerenga korero mō te rā (Phrase of the Day) 

    Kei te pēhea koe? – How are you?

    Not sure how to pronounce it? Check out the video here


    Wairua Puhou performance
    A kapahaka performance by students from Otago Girls High School and Otago Boys High School.
    12noon in The Hub. 

    Tuesday 11 September

    Rerenga korero mō te rā (Phrase of the Day) 

    Kei hea ā Ron? – Where is Ron?

    Not sure how to pronounce it? Check out the video here.


    Māori Language Revitalisation
    With Dr Gianna Leoni
    12noon in G106


    Wednesday 12 September 

    Rerenga korero mō te rā (Phrase of the Day) 

    He aha te wā? – What is the time?


    Thursday 13 September 

    Rerenga korero mō te rā (Phrase of the Day) 

    He aha tõ ikoa/ingoa? – What is your name?


    Friday 14 September 

    Rerenga korero mō te rā (Phrase of the Day) 

    Nō hea koe? – Where are you from?