The scholarship has been promoted by Holly Kendrick, a veterinary nurse and a vet nurse lecturer at Otago Polytechnic, which is in the process of preparing to offer a scholarship programme through their Pasifika group.
“We will be targeting Rarotonga to begin with, because there is a clinic here that students can attend while they study,” says Kendrick. “This will contribute to practical hours.”
She says just one scholarship will be offered the first year. The successful student will also get a scholarship for their second year of study, while another first-year student is also sponsored. The polytechnic will also continue talks with the ministry of education to see if they can add to an overall package for students.
The vet scholarship is available to anyone, “not just school leavers”.
“And they can choose to study online here or in New Zealand at Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch or Otago.”
Kendrick says students who study online in Rarotonga will still need to go to New Zealand to do a three-day block course and while they are there, they can be placed into a clinic as part of their required 240 clinical hours.
“Doing placement in different clinics adds to the experience and you gain knowledge from the different clinics.”
Once the two-year vet nurse training is complete, successful students can register as a vet nurse.
“Vet nursing is becoming a recognised profession in its own right, offering a different skill set to that of a vet.”
Kendrick has been on Rarotonga on a “working” family holiday, and brought donated medical equipment and other purchases from New Zealand.
She is on the board of charity vet clinic Te Are Manu, where she fills the role of clinical advisor, recruits volunteers alongside a local volunteer and looks after TAM’s Facebook page and website.
“We’ve got such a good team here and we really complement each other. Everyone is so dedicated. We are extremely busy but we manage to keep things working.”