Otago Polytechnic
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Her ability as an Occupational Therapist, to think about the person in the middle of their environment, has seen her connect with those who were most vulnerable

Juliet Arnott
Bachelor of Occupational Therapy

Juliet Arnott is a 2017 Otago Polytechnic Distinguished Alumni.

Juliet is an artist and an occupational therapist, so it makes sense that she combined the two!

Juliet finds creative solutions to unmet social and environmental needs.  She uses her creativity and craftsmanship to help community groups, schools, health groups, artists and designers.

Her social enterprise company, Rekindle, is all about diverting reusable resources from waste.  It originally focussed on using waste timber from residential demolition in Christchurch - turning it into furniture, interiors, sculpture and jewellery.

One of Juliet’s more famous projects was Whole House Reuse, where her team deconstructed and transformed an entire earthquake damaged house into beautiful and purposeful artefacts.  More than 250 people from around New Zealand and the world were involved, creating everything from a delicately carved taonga puoro to a finely crafted backyard studio.

Juliet has received many awards for her efforts, including:

  • Winston Churchill Fellowship 2014
  • Yealands “Raise a Glass to Success” Finalist 2014
  • AMP “Do Your Thing” Scholarship 2013
  • WWF Audience Choice Climate Solutions Awards 2012
  • Rebuild and Reuse Award at SHAC Awards 2012
  • Joan Walden Award for practice in Occupational Therapy (Otago Polytechnic) 1995

Megan Gibbons, Head of College, Te Ohu Ora, says Juliet’s values align perfectly with those of Otago Polytechnic.

“Her social entrepreneurship has seen her succeed in reducing the waste and ultimate landfill space needed following the Christchurch earthquakes.  Her ability as an Occupational Therapist, to think about the person in the middle of their environment, has seen her connect with those who were most vulnerable” she says.

Read about the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy at Otago Polytechnic.

See the 2017 Otago Polytechnic Distinguished Alumni.

OT profile LuciaStettner 003
My future feels exciting. I don’t feel confined to any one thing. I’m looking forward to getting out into the workforce and putting all my studies to use.

Lucia Stettner
Bachelor of Occupational Therapy

Twenty year old Lucia Stettner is in her second year of Otago Polytechnic’s Bachelor of Occupational Therapy. She wanted to study something practical that really made a difference in people’s lives. So far Lucia loves the programme.

“I have made really good friendships. I love the face-to-face classes and the chance I get to use all the skills that I learn about. It all just clicks.

“Placements are probably my favourite thing. I get to try different fields and disciplines of Occupational Therapy before I commit to one thing. I really enjoyed my mental health placement and I hope I get to do a paediatrics one soon.”

Finding time to devote to her studies is challenging though as Lucia also spends many hours training each week in Canoe Polo. She started playing Canoe Polo in 2009, and in 2011 played her first regionals and was selected for the Women’s Under 18 team.

Last year, Lucia competed at the Oceania Championships and her team won the gold medal. Lucia has recently been selected for the 2016 World Championships which will be held in Syracuse, Italy in August.

OT profile DanielAjello 001
My physical differences allow me to set up a rapport quite quickly with clients as they can identify with what I’ve had to deal with in my life.

Daniel Ajello
Bachelor of Occupational Therapy

Daniel Ajello was born with his right hand and right foot missing, and his left leg ends at the knee.

He has been using prosthetic legs since he was twelve months old and competes in many sports including football, swimming, javelin, archery, and boxing.

“I decided I wanted to study Occupational Therapy in my gap year after I realised I’d been doing OT on myself all my life. “

Daniel was born in Zimbabwe and his family moved to Gisborne when he was 4 years old. He came to Otago Polytechnic to study Occupational Therapy in Dunedin.

“I’ve found the programe really engaging, I’ve really grown with it and I’ve learnt a lot on my placements.  There is a lot of thinking outside of the box and you become a great problem solver at the end of the day.”

Daniel is currently in his third year at Otago Polytechnic and hopes to graduate in March.

“Dunedin is a neat place to study, it’s such a condensed student community.”

Read more about the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy 

More Occupational Therapy programmes > 

OT profile LaurenRedshaw 007
I enjoy my job because it is constantly challenging, rewarding and interesting.

Lauren Redshaw
Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours)

Lauren Redshaw always knew she wanted to help people in some way. When she left high school in 2007 she thought she would become a psychologist or a journalist. “However after returning from a year living overseas, a good friend suggested that I look into Occupational Therapy, describing it as a profession that helped people through doing. I was hooked from that point on because it meant combining my desire to help people with my own interests in creative pursuits.”

This led to Lauren studying the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy with Honours at Otago Polytechnic.

“I chose Otago Polytechnic because it was located in Dunedin, my home, and offered the degree that I was interested in. Highlights from the course of my study was doing a community project for the Hearing Association to investigate noise-induced hearing loss, and getting a research scholarship from Arthritis New Zealand to complete a small scale qualitative study on young adults with arthritis.

“I now work in Invercargill in the Inpatient Mental Health Unit, as the primary Occupational Therapist. I have also worked since graduating at Dunedin Hospital and as a Community Physical Occupational Therapist, in Balclutha.

“I’m not sure what my dream job looks like because the more I learn about myself and occupational therapy the more my vision changes. As long as I am working in the mental health sector, I will be happy because that is where my heart lies. In the next few years I would like to live and work overseas as an Occupational Therapist, preferably in Scotland. I am currently completing postgraduate study for new entry allied health clinicians, and would someday like to do my PhD.”

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The placements were a highlight and I loved being able to go all over New Zealand on placement and explore cities that I had never been to.

Ashley Templeton
Bachelor of Occupational Therapy

Ashley Templeton graduated with a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy in 2012. She comes from a farming background in Waimatuku (Southland).

Ashley always knew she wanted to work in a healthcare/community setting as she spent quite a lot of time in hospital when she was young and has always remembered the kind nurses and doctors she had. She found out about Occupational Therapy in Year 13 at school and as soon as she heard about it knew she wanted to become an occupational therapist. So she applied, and was accepted, to Otago Polytechnic.

“Otago Polytechnic was great. I had a great hall to stay in and made lots of life-long friends. It wasn’t like going in to big lectures; it was small, friendly and caring.

"In my final year at Otago Polytechnic, I started doing a lot of weight training at Unipol Gym. In 2013 I went to the World Powerlifting Champs in South Africa and got a bronze medal in my division.”

Now Ashley is the 2015 National Raw Women’s Overall powerlifting champion. Ashley also uses her competitive recreational skills in powerlifting in her vocational rehabilitation job in Christchurch to teach workers how to prevent sprains and strains in the workplace, and work with people with injury or disability to assist them to return to work.

“I think all the anatomy we learnt at Otago Polytechnic was a big help to me personally and professionally. It helped my training and it also helps me with the people I work with.

"My next big plan is to go to the World Powerlifting Championships in Texas in 2016 to compete. I would love another international medal for the wall.”

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I’ve had lots of injuries as a professional sportsman, so I know what it’s like to suffer pain and feel isolated because you can’t do your job anymore.

James McMillan
Bachelor of Occupational Therapy

Former Otago Volts Cricket team member James McMillan learnt a lot about rehabilitating the body after injury during his 15 years as a first class player. The veteran bowler had a reputation of being one of the fastest on the domestic cricket scene, but he suffered repeated shoulder injuries, stress fractures and torn ligaments as a result, and had long periods off the field and away from his team mates.

“It’s made me much more empathetic and given me a much better understanding of what people go through when they’re injured and can’t earn a living. It can be very tough.”

In the off season, James worked as a support person in gyms and for an occupational therapy company, and found he had a passion for helping people with disabilities.

“I used to help this guy who had locked-in syndrome, he’d come into the gym and a few of us would help him do his workout. It was inspirational watching him, he had so much focus and determination; it kept pushing my interest in occupational therapy.”

This year, the 37 year old father of two young children decided it was time to think about life after professional cricket and a career change.

“I heard good things about the Occupational Therapy programme at Otago Polytechnic, so I went to a few of their open nights, met some of the tutors and it seemed a perfect fit.”

James says it’s a challenge studying full time, working as a personal trainer and being a Dad but it’s made him more focused.

“There’s such a variety of topics that you cover that makes the programme so interesting, and the placements were a real eye opener. I really enjoy it and the people you meet."