Category Archives: Wellbeing

Celebrating Matariki

Matariki signals the Māori New Year and is a time of renewal and celebration, beginning with the rising of the Matariki star cluster. This time is an opportunity to reflect, reset and look forward.

To learn more about Matariki check out the latest Allright campaign here>

The Arts Centre here in Christchurch are currently running some great events to celebrate Matariki. Check them out here>

To learn how to find the Matariki star cluster watch this clip from Te Papa Tongarewa The Museum of  Aotearoa New Zealand here>

The Allright campaign has a great clip on how to make a manu tukutuku for Matariki. Watch it here> 

Tips for your Wellbeing

The last few months have been challenging. And even though we are gradually returning to normal, the level of change we have experienced and the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 can be disruptive to our mental and physical wellbeing. Therefore we encourage you to take some time out for you to focus on your wellbeing.

Check out these tips:


Connecting with others is key to maintaining a healthy wellbeing and helps us to feel safe, less stressed and less anxious. There are many ways to connect with others, such as phoning a friend or family member, having a Zoom catch up with an overseas relation, going for a coffee and a chat with a colleague, or having a movie night with the family. We all connect with others in different ways.


Volunteering your time to help out the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and helps to create connections with the people around you.

Why not give volunteering a go? Check out Volunteering Canterbury for some ways that you can help.

For the remainder of 2020, UC will match one day of annual leave used for volunteering in the community with another day of paid special leave (limit one day/annum), also to be used for volunteering activities. Talk to your Head/Manager and complete this application for discretionary leave for the special leave day  (in the “Other” field put in “Volunteering – second day”).

Don’t forget to post photos of you volunteering and tag them with #UCVolunteering.

Come along to the annual UC and Volunteering Canterbury expo for ideas of where you can volunteer your efforts in the community.  The Volunteering Expo is being held on Wednesday 29 July 2020, in the Undercroft (Puaka-James Hight Building) between 11:30am and 2:30pm.

Take Notice

During our busy lives it is important that we take time out to pause, breathe and to take notice of the beauty that we surround ourselves with. Savour moments, be curious and notice the changing of seasons, these are all simple ways that you can take notice every day.

Keep Learning

Embrace new experiences and try something new, you never know what hidden skill or talent that you might possess. Learning new things can help boost your confidence and are a great way to have some fun.

Contemplating studying something new? UC will pay 100% of fees for UC courses that staff would normally only receive 50% payment of fees for (i.e. courses that are not work-related).  For further details, look at the Staff Tertiary Study Assistance process here.

Be Active

Many of us spend a large amount of our working day deskbound. Therefore it is really important for our wellbeing that we take a break each day to be active. Physical exercise is really good for us and is a great way to boost our mood.  Why not check out the Rec Centre here at UC, they offer a variety of options for physical activity.


Kind regards,

Bonnie Tainui, Wellbeing Coordinator, Wellness Services

Karen Grant, Reward & Recognition Consultant, People & Culture

Plastic Free July is here!

We’re gearing up for an entire month of celebrating all things plastic free during the worldwide Plastic Free July Campaign.

Take the challenge and ‘choose to refuse’ single use plastics with us during the month of July!

Want to get started?

  • Bring a reusable coffee cup to campus, and make the most of the $ savings that come with BYO mugs
  • Bring your lunch from home and avoid plastic cling film or if you’re buying food on campus, bring a container and avoid using a takeaway box or plate!
  • Take your own bags to get your groceries – and don’t forget smaller bags for loose produce
  • Drink loose leaf tea – did you know tea bags contain plastic?
  • Keep some reusable cutlery in your bag or office, so you’re not caught short if you do buy food out. A reusable straw is always handy too!
  • Don’t forget your reusable water bottle to fill up on the go
  • Want to challenge yourself? Get inspired with these ‘next steps’ for taking your Plastic Free July to another level.

Remember: The most sustainable item is one you already have! If you need reusables or other items to help you ditch single-use plastic, we encourage you to use what you have first. Nothing wrong with a jam jar as a coffee cup, or an ice-cream container for a lunch box we reckon…

Want some more help?

We’ve got a whole bunch of plastic free activities planned this month to help you along the way, including a free DIY beeswax wrap workshop, student bloggers sharing their experiences about taking on the challenge, and heaps of awesome plastic free giveaways over on our Facebook page.

Join us for a month of ditching single use plastics for good!

This message was bought to you by the UC Sustainability Office. Stay connected and follow us on Facebook, Instagram or sign up to our newsletter to stay in the loop about campus sustainability. This is part of our contribution to Plastic Free July, where we encourage our UC community reduce single use plastics for the month. For more information and tips, see the Plastic Free July website.

Feeding the mind – as researchers in New Zealand explore the link between nutrition and mental health, could a Māori philosophy of wellbeing hold some clues?

Feeding the Mind” by Taryn Hale (Ngāti Koata, Ngāti Pākehā), a UC Master’s student and Professor Julia Rucklidge, Director of Te Puna Toiora, the Mental Health and Nutrition Research Group and Professor of Clinical Psychology was published on 8 July in “The ACU Review”, the online publication of the Association of Commonwealth Universities.

You may enjoy reading some other recent articles in this publication in the areas of Endangered languages and Public mental health.

You can also explore the ACU homepage.

New financial support at UC: Pōhā Iti bursary

UC understands that being a student can be financially challenging, and that the COVID-19 pandemic has compounded the issue for some. It’s important to know that domestic students and international PhD students who are currently experiencing financial difficulties due to COVID-19 may be eligible for financial support via a newly created bursary named Pōhā Iti.


A pōhā is a kelp bag that was used traditionally (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 100 currently available for students who meet the eligibility criteria to apply for. For this, 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.