Kia ora! 

Whether you’re a new student / ākonga joining us for the first time, a returning learner who’s just starting back with us or you’ve been back at study for a few weeks already, haere mai, welcome. 

Some of you will be studying on campus in Dunedin or Cromwell, some of you will be online, some of you will be studying while working or doing an apprenticeship and some of you will be doing a mixture of all of that! 

Whatever your unique study story and situation, we love that you chose to study with us.

The below info is just a chance for us to let you know a few things which will hopefully help you over the coming weeks. 

Affected by Cyclone Gabrielle?

The first, most important message, is to let anyone affected by Cyclone Gabrielle know that our thoughts are with you, and we hope you’re ok. If you’re trying to begin your study and are struggling due to the wide-reaching impacts of the cyclone, your safety and wellbeing is our number one priority.

Please make sure you and your whānau are safe and just start your learning with us when you can. Please don’t be worried about study timeframes, start dates or assignments right now. We’ll work through these with you later and extensions will be available.

We know that power and communications outages may mean some of you may not read this email for some time. Please just get in touch when you’re back online and, if you need anything, please reach out to our support team. They’re here for you. Kia kaha. 

Campus maps

We know that finding your way around when you first start can feel a little overwhelming. Below are some links to our campus maps which we hope you'll find helpful: 

Orientation and getting started

Our official Orientation week starts on Monday 20 February.

The Otago Polytechnic Students’ Association (OPSA), in conjunction with OUSA (Otago University Students’ Association), run heaps of events in Dunedin for you to take part in. This is a great chance to meet some new mates so get involved if you're into that kind of thing!

If you’re a new learner, your programme staff / school will also be organising induction events and sessions so make sure you keep an eye on your emails for any information about that.  

Our Getting started webpage can hopefully also help you out with FAQs, a general study timeline for the year and campus maps.

And we’ve got some info about getting started with online learning too if that’s how you’re going to be studying.

Staying safe

We know that living in a new place can feel a little daunting. We've got lots of measures in place to keep you as safe as possible. You also need to play your part in this and not take any unnecessary risks. 

Campus Watch (Dunedin)

The Campus Watch team is a group of staff employed to watch out for you. 

Five teams work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You'll recognise them by their distinctive uniforms of blue and gold, with fluro vests/jackets, walking around campus and North Dunedin. 

They do have a University of Otago emblem on their uniform but they are 100% there for Otago Polytechnic students too!

Their role is essentially pastoral - acting as "walking info booths" on a range of issues.

Their duties include manning the Safety Patrol, providing "walks home" and ensuring student behaviour is kept to a reasonable level. 

Campus Cop (Dunedin)

As well as our Campus Watch crew, you might also see our Campus Cop, John Woodhouse, out and about. 

You can touch base with John by emailing or calling 021 190 5950.  

Emergency Services 

If you feel unsafe at any stage, it is always ok to call the Emergency Services for help. 

  • Call 111 for urgent emergency situations (Police)
  • Call *555 for non-urgent situations (Police)

Security (Dunedin)

There are CCTV cameras onsite around campus and swipe access to a lot of our buildings after-hours. 

It's a good idea to keep your valuables with you or OPSA can look after your items during office hours if needs be. 

Staying safe 

We want you to have an awesome experience while studying with us so here's a few tips for keeping yourself safe during Orientation and throughout your studies: 

  • Fully charge your phone before you head out.
  • Make a plan to eat something before you start drinking.
  • Lock your flat. Talk to your flatmates about locking up, taking your key with you.
  • Plan how you're getting home at the end of your night.
  • Save some cash or money on your card just in case you need to pay for transport home.
  • Stick together. It’s easy to lose people in clubs so always let your friends know where you're going.
  • Have a place to meet up with your friends if you get separated.
  • Pace yourself, have a glass of water between each alcoholic drink.
  • Be aware of the risk of drink spiking - don’t leave your drink unattended or accept any drinks that you haven't personally seen poured, especially from strangers.
  • Look after your friends, are you going home with the same number of people you headed out with?
  • Keep to main streets and well-lit areas. 
  • Save a taxi number into your phone.
  • Save Campus Watch contact to your phone: 0800 479 500
  • Think about some things you could say if you’re feeling uncomfortable with a situation e.g.:
    • I’m here with someone 
    • Hang on I just have to text my friend 
    • I have to go help my friend
    • I have to leave now, might see you later

Here's some more info from the NZ Police to make sure you have a good night out: 

Need to talk? 

If you've had a negative experience and would like to talk to someone, please reach out to our Student Support team. We have trained counsellors, student advisors, and chaplains so you can choose the best service to suit you. 

OPSA (Otago Polytechnic Students' Association)

OPSA is an independent organisation within the Polytechnic and is run by students, for students. They run events, supply advice and will independently represent your thoughts and support/advocate for you. 

OPSA also process your student ID card so, if you don’t have one yet, head along to their desk in The Hub and they’ll help you out. 

If you’re an online/distance learner, you can still get an ID card. Just email with your details (full name, date of birth, postal address, 240x240 passport style digital photo).

And here's a link to OPSA-specific information if you're studying at our Central Otago Campus.

The Hub vs the online Student Hub

At our Dunedin Campus, the main social area is called The Hub. This is where you’ll find the OPSA office, our Eden café, Customer Services, our student support team, Te Pūnaka Owheo (our Māori student support centre), computers and printers, and loads of tables, chairs and beanbags. 

We also have an online Student Hub which is a centralised, digital place for all our students to find information about their enrolment, printing balance, support services, important updates etc.  

You can log into the Student Hub with the details that should have been provided to you when you were enrolled. If you’re having any issues accessing the Student Hub, please get in touch with our IT Service Desk.

Please make sure you keep your contact details up to date (you can update these in the ‘My details’ section).

Check out this “tour” of the Student Hub if you want to get more familiar with the layout >

NEW look Student Hub

You might be looking at the Student Hub and thinking, “that could do with a makeover”. We thought the same so we’re currently refreshing this platform for you. 

We ran some workshops and asked for learner / ākonga input last year and we’re now just in the final stages of development. 

We’ll be launching the new look around 18 April. 

And, to help with the confusion that often happens due to the names – The Hub and the Student Hub – we asked ākonga to choose a new name for the new version. The name chosen was Kāpehu, which means ‘compass’ in Māori. 

We’ll send out some more info before Kāpehu goes live and let you know where to find things in the refreshed version.

Student support services

We have a wide range of support services available for you. These range from learning advice to accessibility services and assistive technology to counselling and wellbeing support. They’re here to make sure you enjoy your time with us and get the best that you can from your study and the experience. 

We also offer tailored support for our Māori students, Pasifika learners and international learners so please tap into that anytime you need to. 

Our Student Support website – Te Ama Tauira – is a fantastic place for you to go to find support resources, contact details and a booking form to allow you to book a support appointment. Services are available to our on campus and online/distance learners. 

If you’re learning online or by distance, our learning online toolbox section is also there to specifically support your learning journey. It includes FAQs for online learning, online access to the library, and details about our dedicated online/distance support advisor.

2023 Moodle updates

If you studied with us last year, you might notice a few changes in our online student learning platform, Moodle. This handy page gives you a great summary of the changes.

Ways info will be given to you

Digital TV screens

On campus, we have digital TV screens in key places. Keep an eye on these as they hold handy updates about events, promotions and other info. 

If you’re running a Polytechnic event or info session for fellow students (or prospective students), you can ask us to add this info to our screens. Request a screen to be added >   

If you have any issues filling in the form, email and we can help :) 

Student email account

Your student email is one of the main ways you will receive important information. This may be sent by your school administrator, your programme staff, the communications team or OPSA. We know lots of you will have your own personal email account to check and we get that you don’t want to be checking lots of different things all the time. 

Feel free to add a redirect from your student email account to your personal email account (if you don’t know how to do that, check out this Microsoft article). And, if you need any support with setting up your email, check these instructions

Social media channels

We have a range of social channels – sign up and follow us to stay in the know!

Tell us your stories or share your news

We’re ALWAYS keen to hear your good news stories about your study or student experience! We share these on our channels to interest and inspire prospective students and their whānau. 

These don’t need to be about getting awesome grades or coming top of the class. Success looks different to everybody and we love celebrating that. Maybe you’ve overcome some challenges to be studying, perhaps you reached out to our support service team and had a fantastic experience, or maybe you’re volunteering in the community. 

Reach out to us via this ‘Share your news’ form >

Any questions?

If you’ve got any questions or concerns, please make sure you reach out to us – no question is silly! 

You can chat to: