Haere mai!

Welcome to the information page for the
New Zealand Diploma in Rural Animal Veterinary Technology


Student questionnaire 

Before the programme starts on Monday 26th February, we would like you to complete this short questionnaire about yourself.  

Also be sure you have let us know which block course venue you prefer. 


Connecting with your lecturers 

On the first day of the programme, we will send you an email that explains how to join the RAVT Microsoft Teams channel.  Microsoft Teams looks a feels a bit like Facebook but without the annoying ads and distractions of all your friends and family posting about what their cat did this morning.   

We post at least once a week on to the News Feed on Teams, to let you know what you should be doing each week and to share employment or placement opportunities, and the occasional Dad Joke.  It’s essential that you are logging into Teams so you can connect with us and stay updated.  All your online lectures will be using Teams and you can message us using Teams as well. 

In the first week you’ll need to connect to the student hub and complete your annual student H&S short course.  This is compulsory for all students – new and returning. 

Teams – Moodle – the student hub, it all takes a bit of getting used to.  We’re here to help you though.  The main thing is to keep up by reading and reacting to Teams messages, emails and any other communication.   

You can always email the rural programme leader, Steph Mann at steph.mann@op.ac.nz or our School admin team at vetnursing@op.ac.nz if you need help. 


Block courses 

Block course attendance is compulsory.  There are two block courses this year, one in semester 1 and the other in semester 2.  Semester 1 block course dates and venues have been confirmed and you have received an email regarding choice of venue already.  If you can’t find this email, please contact vetnursing@op.ac.nz  

There are two block courses each year of the programme.  The first block course is 4 days in length.  We generally try to start late on day one and finish early on the final day to help with travel but you are expected to attend the entire block course.  If you are unwell or can’t attend for other reasons we may defer practical elements of the programme for the year.  

During the block courses you will be introduced to new skills and given the opportunity to work with your lecturers face-to-face.  The second block course will have practical assessments in it as well.  More on this later though! 

While on block course we will be attending sessions on farms in the region.  We will transport you to the farms.  You will need your uniform and stethoscope for semester 1 block course (see below).   


Uniforms, equipment, and textbooks 

Students enrolled in Diploma in Rural Animal Veterinary Technology must wear Te Pūkenga branded uniform on all placements and at block courses.  This has been requested from veterinary clinics so clients are aware you are training and not a staff member. 

There is a second-hand Facebook group for Te Pūkenga.  Here you might find second-hand textbooks but as this is a new programme, you won’t find second-hand Te Pūkenga branded items just yet, because these are new for 2023.  You will find second-hand Otago Polytechnic branded uniform items though, and these are acceptable for your programme of study 😊 


Weweru | Uniform requirements

Compulsory branded Te Pūkenga uniform items for Diploma in Rural Animal Technology are name badge, shirt and overalls*.

Here are your uniform requirements for this programme.  You might want more than one shirt or overalls, depending on your budget.  You can buy more items throughout the year, and Arrow Uniforms has other options, like hats, warm clothing, polyprops available and being added too:

  • Overalls – at least one pair of Te Pūkenga branded overalls.  If you are employed by a clinic or have your own overalls and want to use these, please contact us to discuss.  Second hand overalls can be approved but you will still need to brand these with a Te Pūkenga Rural Animal Vet Tech student badge.
  • Shirt – at least one Te Pūkenga branded shirt. 
  • A Te Pūkenga branded name badge
  • Your own stethoscope  (have you looked in the ear buds of a shared stethoscope?!)
  • Farm appropriate gumboots

These items can all be purchased from our uniform supplier, Arrow Uniforms.  BEFORE YOU CLICK ON THIS LINK though, make sure you read the rest of this info! 😊

When ordering from Arrow Uniforms it is super important that you click the right block course venue and order before your cut off date, to make sure that your uniform arrives in time for block course.

NB You can purchase your boots and stethoscope from any supplier and obviously you don’t need to buy these items if you already have them.  You may find some second-hand Otago Polytechnic rural animal technology items for sale on the Te Pūkenga buy/sell/exchange Facebook group.  Otago Polytechnic branded items are fine to use this year 😊

You will also need:

  • Dairy waterproof bib overalls and jacket (we recommend Betacraft Dairyflex or Techniflex or similar)
  • Warm clothing and a sun hat

*If you are already working in a veterinary clinic and have clinic-branded overalls, or if you are on a dairy farm and have overalls, you can opt to purchase a Te Pūkenga branded badge rather than new overalls, as our industry has requested that our students are identifiable.  You will still need the other compulsory uniform and items listed on this page. 


There are no compulsory textbooks for this programme.  We have a number of textbooks that are recommended reading (and we’re always willing to share our favourites if you have a topic you’re interested in!) but you can borrow these from The Robertson Library as an enrolled student, for free.  The library will even courier hard copies to you.  Many texts are available as e-books too. 


Work placement 

The Diploma in Rural Animal Veterinary Technology programme has a minimum requirement of 750 workplace hours.  Most of these, but not all of them, will be spent in a rural veterinary environment.  Some of your placement hours will be collected on farms and other rural animal facilities.   

The practical component of this programme will include skills that you are assessed on as well as hours.  Many of the hours required will be gathered organically, as you work to learn and practice your skills so don’t stress about the hours too much right now. 

Placement can’t begin until you have completed the first theory course and attended the first block course.  As a general indication for clinics, we suggest telling them you’re looking for placement to begin in Term Two, after Easter. 

If you have not already secured work placements, print off and read each of the following Veterinary Clinic Work Placement documents. 

Tips on work placements 

Work placements can be one day a week, or in blocks of weeks or a month but it is useful to discuss your intentions with us once the programme has begun because much of the rural tasks required are seasonal, so if you were to do your placement all in one block in term two, you would miss out on everything you need from terms three and four, for example.  

Many veterinary clinics are approached by a number of students from Otago and other Polytechnics, both companion animal and rural. You may need to work with the veterinary clinic to find a mutually convenient time for your work placements.  

Work placements will not commence until you have completed and passed your first course and attended the first block course.  

How to approach potential veterinary clinics 

We always recommend that you send an email to the veterinary clinic asking if you could make an appointment with the appropriate person to discuss whether they would be prepared to have a student undertake work placement as part of the New Zealand Diploma in Rural Animal Veterinary Technology programme (Dipl.RAVT) at Otago Polytechnic subsidiary of Te Pūkenga.  

You should provide a small summary about yourself and attach to the email:  

  • A brief Curriculum Vitae (CV), including at least one referee that can vouch for you 
  • A copy of your current Criminal Convictions History Report 
  • A copy of all of the Veterinary Clinic Work Placement documents.

Click here for the Emergency Contact Details Form (fill this in and give to the Veterinary Clinic when you have sourced a work placement) 

Click here to review What to expect on your first day at your work placement 

You are more likely to get a better response by asking for an appointment to discuss this, than if you just call in to the veterinary clinic. It also shows that you are demonstrating high levels of professionalism and also recognise that veterinary clinics are very busy places. Make sure when you attend the appointment that you take copies of all the documents above, and be prepared to talk about yourself and why you are doing the NZCAT VNA programme. If you do not hear from the veterinary clinic within a week, we suggest that you telephone the veterinary clinic and ask to speak to the practice manager or the senior large animal vet technician to arrange an appointment to discuss whether the veterinary clinic would be prepared to support you as a student requiring work placement.  

It is very important that all communications with the veterinary clinic are made by you, not your parent or spouse.  

Do not be disheartened if the veterinary clinic advise they do not take students – this can happen, so be prepared to approach another clinic.  

Remember to take with you to your appointment at the veterinary clinic:  

  1. Your brief Curriculum Vitae (CV), including at least one referee that can vouch for you 
  2. Your current Criminal Convictions History Report 
  3. 3. The Veterinary Clinic Work Placement documents 
  4. 4. A smile 😊 and possibly a bit of morning tea.

Always remember:  You are a guest in the veterinary clinic, and it is a privilege not a right.  

Be aware should there be aspects of your work placement being unbeneficial to the veterinary clinic they can terminate their agreement to support your work placement at any time.  Once your work placement day/s and hours have been established it always pays to be prepared to do a little more than just the set hours. In your work placement veterinary clinic be prepared to provide some leniency when it comes to your hours particularly if there is a high workload or if there is an emergency or work just needs doing, it will really be appreciated if you stay on to assist even if it is hanging out the washing, cleaning out cages (yes, even though you’re not studying companion animal nursing!). This shows that you are passionate, interested and also prepared to pitch in – all qualities that a future employer of all allied veterinary professionals will be looking for. By staying on to help also shows you recognise the commitment the veterinary clinic has provided in supporting you and that work placement is give and take.    

Enjoy your work placement 😊 

If you need support finding a suitable placement, please contact the School of Veterinary Nursing by emailingKatie.Prasad@op.ac.nz -Katie is our work placement co-ordinator.