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News > Dunedin

Hoiho hospital

This summer’s looking a lot brighter for the south's yellow-eyed Penguins/hoiho.  They now have their very own local hospital set up at Otago Polytechnic’s School of Veterinary Nursing.

The Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust successfully raised enough money to contract wildlife veterinarian, Lisa Argilla, for a second year.  She has moved to Dunedin for the summer to care for injured penguins and says she couldn’t do it without the facility at Otago Polytechnic. 

“These birds require intensive hospitalisation.  I need access to the right equipment and a sizeable facility” Dr Argilla says.

Previously, injured penguins were sent to Wellington or Palmerston North for care.  “One of the main problems we face is infection from wounds.  Here, in Dunedin, we can start intravenous antibiotics within 24 hours.  Because of that, our success rate of saving birds is much higher” she says.

For the past four years, barracouta fish attacks have been a real issue.  Dr Argilla believes a change in feeding conditions has forced the fish to compete with penguins for food closer to shore.  “Penguin chicks are about a month away from fledging, so their parents are spending a lot more time back and forth between the ocean and nest to feed them” she says.

Sue Murray, Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust General Manager, is delighted to have Lisa back for the summer.  “We really need her expertise to help at a time when the yellow-eyed penguin population is at such a critical level” Mrs Murray says.  “There are only 226 breeding pairs left on mainland New Zealand – that’s the lowest it’s been for twenty-five years.”

Barbara Dunn Senior Lecturer at School of Veterinary Nursing says Otago Polytechnic is pleased to support a local charity and southern wildlife.  “We highly value the job that Lisa and her team are doing to help NZ wildlife, especially enabling the yellow-eyed penguins to be treated locally rather than having to travel long distances for care” she says.

Although yellow-eyed penguins/hoiho are the focus, Dr Argilla, who is New Zealand Veterinarian Association’s Wildlife Society President, is prepared to help any rare seabirds that get into trouble. 

Read about it on STUFF (with video).

Read about Otago Polytechnic's Veterinary Nursing programme.

News > Dunedin

On the right foot

Southern United football team is aiming for its third consecutive win.  

Player, and Otago Polytechnic graduate, Ross Howard, is determined to help them do it.

The team had a sound 4-0 win over Hamilton Wanderers last week, and are now hoping to match it in Canterbury.

Read more about Ross Howard and his stellar season.

News > Dunedin

Running Hawker's vegetarian spring rolls

Running Hawker is a mobile culinary business set up by three former Otago Polytechnic students; Mica Doc (from Manilla), Lucy Lu and Wenting Mere Cheung (both from China).  They experiment with traditional Asian street food to create a fusion of tastes.  

The three women have seen great success in Otago, including the Noodle Market in Queenstown, the Vogel Street Party in Dunedin, and the Great Kiwi Home and Living Show at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

In today's ODT, they present their delicious recipe for vegetarian spring rolls.

Click here for their recipe.

Learn more about Culinary Arts at Otago Polytechnic.

News > Dunedin

Wahakura safety endorsed

Infants sleeping in wahakura (flax bassinets) are relatively safe when compared with bassinets, according to a joint study between Otago Polytechnic and the University of Otago.

The researchers, led by Associate Professor Sally Baddock of Otago Polytechnic and Professor Barry Taylor and Dr David Tipene-Leach of the University of Otago, concluded there were no significant differences in risk behaviours in wahakura compared to bassinets and there were other advantages, including an increase in sustained breastfeeding.

The paper was recently published in leading scientific journal Pediatrics.

The study finds evidence that wahakura are relatively safe and can be promoted as an alternative to infant-adult bed-sharing, say the researchers.

“The study was motivated by the concern that Māori and other indigenous populations have greater rates of sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI). This is likely due to the high prevalence of bed-sharing where there has been smoking in pregnancy – a combination that is a major contributor to risk,” Professor Taylor, who is also Head of the Dunedin School of Medicine, says.

Both bed-sharing and smoking have proved difficult to change and thus the wahakura (flax bassinet) was developed as a culturally appropriate alternative to direct bed-sharing.

Dr David Tipene-Leach says: “The wahakura is promoted to provide a separate and safer sleep space for baby that can be used in the shared bed and therefore that allows the valued close proximity for mother and baby.”

While wahakura are used by many, to date there has been no direct evidence about their safety.

Researchers recruited 200 predominantly Māori pregnant women from deprived areas of New Zealand as measured by the NZ Deprivation Index.  They provided the women with either a wahakura or bassinet during pregnancy and then later compared the risks and benefits of infants sleeping in either device. They investigated breastfeeding, infant sleep position, the amount of infant head covering during sleep, the amount of bed-sharing (without the device), and maternal sleep and fatigue.

Associate Professor Baddock, who is also Co-Head of Otago Polytechnic's School of Midwifery, says mothers were asked to sleep babies in either a bassinet or wahakura from birth. At 1, 3 and 6 months mothers completed questionnaires about babies’ sleep and at one month infra-red video was used to record the baby’s overnight sleep.

“Overnight video of the babies sleeping in the devices identified no increase in head covering, prone/side sleep position or bed-sharing (without the device) in the wahakura group, either when analysed according to allocated device or when analysed according to the device baby slept in on the study night,” she says.

When the groups were compared according to allocated device there were no differences at 1, 3 and 6 months in infant-adult direct bed-sharing, but at the six-month interview the wahakura group reported twice the level of full breastfeeding (22.5% vs 10.7%, p=0.04).

Maternal sleep and fatigue were not significantly different between groups. The researchers concluded there were no significant differences in infant risk behaviours in wahakura compared to bassinets and there were other advantages, including an increase in sustained breastfeeding. This suggests wahakura are relatively safe and can be promoted as an alternative to infant-adult bed-sharing. Policies that encourage utilisation are therefore likely to be helpful in high risk populations.

“These findings will give comfort to health workers who will be able to confidently promote a device that encourages a form of bed-sharing that increases safety for infants,” Dr Tipene-Leach says

The Ministry of Health is currently developing a national Safe Sleep programme and this study provides much needed evidence about the wahakura.

The study was funded by a grant from the Health Research Council of New Zealand and a University of Otago Research Grant.

This story is in the news: Maori TVNewsHubNZ Herald, Live News, Stuff, NZ City, TVNZ.

Read about Midwifery programmes at Otago Polytechnic.

News > Dunedin

Director for SIGNAL

SIGNAL’s new interim director, Dr Stuart Charters, today begins leading the South Island ICT Graduate School.

HIs ultimate goal is to guide New Zealand to a more tech-savvy future.

Dr Charters has been involved with the development of New Zealand’s newest ICT grad school since its inception and, as Head of Informatics and Enabling Technologies at Lincoln University, he is well placed to direct the school.

Dr Charters is enthusiastic about leading SIGNAL as it begins delivery of its programmes in February 2017.

“I’m looking forward to working with SIGNAL, which is the first of its kind as a collaboration between the leading tertiary institutions across the South Island in partnership with industry. This school is a direct response to the rapid growth in IT roles across all sectors, where thousands of new jobs will be created in the next ten years. 

“Through disruptive innovation in the IT education space, and working in deep partnership with industry, we are gearing up to become an essential part of the tech ecosystem in the South Island.”

Recently appointed SIGNAL chair Dr David Band says Dr Charters is perfectly placed to take on the director role having been a key part of the team that created the SIGNAL programmes.

“From the beginning, Stuart has been involved in the management group and convening the Academic Working Group which developed the SIGNAL academic programmes, alongside the Christchurch and Dunedin ICT sectors,” says Dr Band.

“Stuart is not only deeply knowledgeable about SIGNAL, he is also passionate about the value it can add to South Island business and education.”

Dr Charters studied Computer Science at St Chad’s College, Durham University, graduating with a PhD and working as a post-doctoral researcher.  He moved to New Zealand in 2006 to lecture at Lincoln University in the then Applied Computing Group. Most recently Stuart has been Senior Lecturer and Head of Department, Informatics and Enabling Technologies. Stuart has research interests in Evidence-Based Software Engineering, eResearch and Precision Agriculture technologies.

SIGNAL stands for South Island Graduate Network and Laboratories. It is the first collaboration of its kind partnering five South Island tertiary institutes – Ara Institute of Canterbury, Lincoln University, Otago Polytechnic, the University of Canterbury and the University of Otago.  As well as producing highly-skilled IT graduates with work-relevant skills, SIGNAL will provide more effective pathways for graduates from IT education into employment.  

Read about this in the Otago Daily Times.

For more information on SIGNAL, visit: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn.

News > Home

Ethical accreditation leads to business success

Otago Polytechnic fashion graduate and distinguished alumni, Anna Ross, is shining brighter than her ethically produced nail polish in the business world.

The entrepreneur was named Australia's 2016 Young Businesswoman of the Year.

After graduating from Otago Polytechnic with a Bachelor of Design (Fashion) in 2008, she moved to Melbourne where she created a line of cruelty-free, vegan nail polish.

Her desire to produce an ethically conscious product came naturally ... but soon developed into her most powerful selling point.

Read more about Anna and her nail polish Kester Black.

Learn about the Bachelor of Design (Fashion)

More Design programmes>

News > Dunedin

Midwife Leader off to The Hague

Sally Pairman, former Otago Polytechnic Director of Learning and Teaching and Co-Head of the School of Midwifery, has been chosen to head the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) in The Hague.

New Zealand's midwifery profession has helped shape best practice internationally, and Dr Pairman has been instrumental in that influence.  She was involved with the campaign that led to the Nurses Amendment Act 1990 which allows midwives to practise autonomously; she was a founding member and President of the New Zealand College of Midwives; and she was the first Chair of the New Zealand Midwifery Council.

Dr Pairman's contribution to midwifery education has been immense.  She helped design New Zealand's first undergraduate and masters degrees here at Otago Polytechnic.  In 2008, she was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to women's health.

The ICM is made up of 130 midwive's associations in 113 countries, and represents about 400,000 midwives.

Read more about Dr Pairman's achievements and new post in the news: here and here.

Learn about Midwifery at Otago Polytechnic.

News > Dunedin

Art graduate sailing into artistic freedom

Dunedin School of Art graduate, Joshua Weeks is about to exhibit at Tennyson Gallery in Napier - depicting the town just after the devastating earthquake in 1931.

He talks to Hawkes Bay Today about his life in the studio and on a yacht.

See more of Joshua's works on his Facebook page.

News > Dunedin

"EYE T" software accessible for all

Software, developed by Otago Polytechnic IT students and their lecturer, David Rozado, could make a world of difference to people unable to use their arms.

The 'Gaze Control' programme allows users to control the computer with just their eyes - perfect for those who have no use of their arms.

Software is also being developed allowing users to control their computer by facial movement, and sounds.

Visit Otago Polytechnic's Accessibility Hub website to access the free technology.

View TVNZ's news story.

Read about the Bachelor of Information Technology.

More about Computing and IT at Otago Polytechnic.

News > Dunedin

Cooking up a storm at sea

Everything's huge about the largest cruise ship to ever visit New Zealand, The Royal Carribbean's Ovation of the Seas.

It can host nearly 5000 passengers, has 18 decks and cost 1.4 billion dollars to construct!

It also has 21 restaurants ... all under the control of executive chef, and Otago Polytechnic graduate, Mark Wilson.

With 282 cooks to manage, and 18,000 meals a day, Mr WIlson has his work cut out for him!

Read more about what it's like to cook for about 30 different nationalities on a typical 14-day cruise.

Read more about the Bachelor of Culinary Arts at Otago Polytechnic.

More about courses offered at Otago Polytechnic's Food Design Institute.