Category Archives: Student Success

Opportunities and advice for making the most of your time at UC, as well as stories featuring students who are excelling in their field.

UC Blues Awards

Last week UC students were recognised for their extracurricular achievements in the fields of sport, the arts and community engagement while maintaining a good level of academia at UC.

The UC Blues Awards was held on Saturday 7 October and recognised 61 students and their achievements. Organised by the University of Canterbury Students’ Association (UCSA) this is the first time the Blues Awards have recognised achievements in the arts and community engagement as well as sport.

Liz Keneti, Director of Student Success was on the judging panel for the community engagement awards and is thrilled at the inclusion of the arts and community engagement at the awards.

‘The introduction of these awards is a wonderful way to recognise those students who through the investment of talent, time and service, have made a positive impact on helping UC to develop and inspire the kinds of attributes, values and opportunities we want our campus experience to reflect’, she says.

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Congratulations to the three supreme winners of the evening:

  • Tayla Bruce, Outstanding Achievement in Sport (Lawn Bowls). Tayla won silver with the Bowls New Zealand Women’s team at the 2017 Multi Nations Champs. She also won the women’s fours and women’s singles national titles this year and was named young player of the year and sportsperson of the year for Canterbury Bowls.
  • Vaea Peterson, Outstanding Achievement in the Arts. Vaea competed with the National Band of New Zealand (Brass Band) at the invitational World Brass Band Championship in the Netherlands where the band placed second in the highest grade of competition.
  • Ashley Stuart, Outstanding Achievement in Community Engagement. Ashley is Canterbury Regional President of United Nations Youth New Zealand and has represented New Zealand at the Harvard National Model United Nations. She is also heavily involved in Rotary Clubs and was the New Zealand representative at the International Rotary Youth Leadership Awards in Washington DC. In September Ashley won the Arts and Humanities section at the 2017 New Zealand Top Student Awards.

Grant Robertson, manager of UC Sport has overseen the Awards for many years and maintains they are an important part of the calendar year.

‘It is so important to recognise and celebrate the success of our students at UC. To be able to balance their extracurricular and academic endeavours is one thing, but to do that at such a high representative level is outstanding’, he says.

History of the UC Blues Awards

The UC Blues Awards was first held in 1914 and recognised achievement in ‘traditional sports’ such as football, tennis, athletics, boxing and shooting while maintaining ‘minimal academic success’. Named after sporting competitions held between the two original ‘Blues’ Oxford and Cambridge Universities, the awards required students to have competed at provincial or New Zealand University levels of competition while studying.

A number of outstanding and well known sports performers have been awarded over the years including Silver Ferns, All Blacks and Black Sticks players as well as talented individual sportspeople competing in boxing, chess, cycling, swimming and athletics to name a few.

Entré winner addresses issues for deaf children

On Tuesday (9 October) entré held their Annual Awards event to celebrate the year and announce the winners of the $85k Start Up Challenge.

Entré’s grand winner for 2017 is Zoe Haws with the venture Talk Town Ltd. 

Talk Town Ltd. was founded to develop, release and promote Talk Town, a resource to help address the social difficulties experienced by many deaf children. Most deaf children go to their local mainstream schools, and many have trouble making friends. These social problems can lead to poor outcomes later in life. Talk Town is an online game specifically designed for deaf children. Talk Town utilises deaf children’s strengths to improve their self-advocacy and communication skills, engage with their hearing classmates, and fulfil their potentials. Talk Town Ltd. is well on its way to reaching these goals.

Zoe Haws

Zoe (pictured right) received a $5k Smudge Apps Development, $5k PWC Services and a $10k cash prize.

 If you are interested to learn more about her story prior to the competition, click here. 

The runner up is a venture that has been started by Isabelle Smith and Josie Milton called The Monthly Co.

The Monthly Co. is a social enterprise delivering organic tampons to your door through an online subscription service. With every order sent out, The Monthly Co. donates a box of tampons to disadvantage girls and women through their charitable partner Aviva. Their mission is to shake up the tampon industry in New Zealand as a collective of women supporting women.

For more information about this venture click here: 

Isabelle and Josie won $5k Narrative Campaigns Services, $2.5k PWC Services and an $8k cash prize.

Entré encourages and supports innovation and entrepreneurship in students. For the past 13 years Entré has provided various opportunities for students where they can gain experience and develop their innovation skills. The biggest competition and opportunity to develop these skills is the annual $85k Start Up Challenge. Over a number of months, teams compete by taking a venture idea and turning it into a reality. It involves writing business plans, interacting with mentors and culminating in a dragons den-style pitch in order to win from a pool of $85k at the end. 

UC Falcons take the top spot


The University of Canterbury Falcons Men’s Basketball team found the winning formula last week at the UTSNZ National Basketball Championships at Cowles Stadium, defeating rival Lincoln University in the grand final 101-90.

The team finished with a 4-1 record and claimed bragging rights over the competitive eight-team field.  Featuring 10 players from the University of Canterbury Basketball Club that played together in the club season, the side completed pool play with a 2-1 record.  The semi final saw a dramatic come back from the Falcons from an 18-point deficit to win over an athletic Otago University side, 91-71.


Congratulations to Josh Petermann who was awarded Most Valuable Player and named in the All-Star Five selections along with Paul Stephenson.

UC Falcons Results:

G01 Pool vs University of Waikato, W, 78-73
G02 Pool vs Massey University-Albany, W, 100-72
G03 Pool vs University of Auckland, L, 60-62
G04 SF vs University of Otago, W, 91-71
G05 GF vs Lincoln University, W, 101-90

UC Falcons team:

Rohan Russo (Co-Captain)
Josh Petermann (Co-Captain)
Reid Gibbens
Josh Chin
Lauchie Weston
Lochie Freear
Simon Reeves
Carl Isitt
Paul Stephenson
Zacc Dwan
Ben Anderson
Coach: Piet Van Hasselt
Assistant: Liam Connelly
Manager: Emma Cantwell
Performance Analyst (Lead): Ollie O’Connell