UC understands that being a student can be financially challenging, and that the COVID-19 pandemic has made this even harder. However, domestic and international PhD students who are currently experiencing financial difficulties due to COVID-19 may be eligible for a newly created bursary named Pōhā Iti.
A pōhā is a kelp bag that was traditionally used (and is still used today) for preserving meat and birds such as tītī (muttonbird) for extended periods of time. Just as a pōhā can hold several birds at once, but we only take them out one bird at a time as we need sustenance, this financial support provides an opportunity for ākonga (students) to receive incremental payments over time in order to help sustain them in their studies.
The monetary value of the bursary is $3,000 split across three payments of $1,000 each, and there are currently 100 available for students who meet the eligibility criteria. To apply, applicants must:
- Be a currently enrolled student
- Be a part time or full time domestic student (Undergrad, Postgrad, PhD) or an international doctoral student studying towards a PhD or equivalent
- Be currently in New Zealand
- Demonstrate that you require assistance as a result of COVID-19
For more information about Pōhā Iti and other financial support options available at UC, please visit the financial assistance webpage. The online application form for Pōhā Iti can be found here.
If you are a domestic or international PhD student experiencing financial difficulties due the pandemic that are impacting your studies — for example, you’ve lost part-time work, or other financial assistance (such as parental) — you may be eligible for financial support via new Government funding.
What could financial difficulty look like? Here are some examples:
- You’re skipping meals (and not by choice)
- You’re having to choose between buying food and paying essential bills (eg. rent, power etc)
- You’re struggling to meet childcare costs.
If this sounds familiar contact the UCSA Advocacy & Welfare team who can provide advice. The funding will be available until the end of the year.
If you are experiencing financial difficulties not related to COVID-19, or if you’re an international student but not studying at PhD level, you may still be eligible for financial assistance. There is a range of support available and each application is assessed on an individual basis. The best thing to do is talk with the UCSA Advocacy & Welfare team.
Now that Level 2 is finally here, we expect many students will be keen to get together in person. Catching up with your mates is great, but as our PM says, play it safe! We ask you to remember:
- You can safely connect and socialise with friends in small groups (remember COVID loves crowds)
- Maintain physical distancing—generally that means greater than 1 metre, but it means 2 metres with people you don’t know when in public
- If you’re unwell, don’t socialise – stay at home
- Have fun! But if you do drink, choose to drink responsibly
- Excessive use of alcohol can negatively impact your mental health and even weaken your immune system
- Don’t drink and drive. Nominate a designated driver with a full licence who can drive you and your mate’s home and keep a sober eye on the party
- Look out for yourself and your mates.
In Alert Level 2 the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the community remains and we are in the “reduce” phase. Remember – COVID loves crowds – so please keep yourself safe.