For many years, students from Unitec, the University of Auckland and Auckland University of Technology have been joining the Healthy Families and Community Sport and Recreation teams as part of their degree student placements. Students join the whānau for weeks or months, depending on the terms set by the university, where they will deep dive into an initiative with support from one of the team.

Over the years, students have supported the Healthy Families team to explore initiatives across early learning, kai, Māori Systems, Play, Active Travel and more. A student currently on placement, Mikayla Kent, says the Healthy Families approach provides students with a unique tool which isn’t emphasized often, reflection.

“As a team, Healthy Families has helped me understand the importance of reflection. It’s a powerful tool enabling us to think through what worked well and what didn’t. We learn the most from what hasn’t worked well, which enables us to re-think and re-frame, ultimately enabling better practice.”

Kent also enjoyed putting the methodology she had learned into practice, particularly when working with rangatahi, which she plans to continue in her career as a social worker.

The Healthy Families team also benefit from student placements, as they provide fresh perspectives and a zest for the mahi. Kerry Allan, Healthy Families Waitākere Manager, continues.

“Students who join our team on placement are passionate learners who are keen to get out into the world and put their learnings to the test. We greatly value the opportunities students’ placements provide and our strong ties to the universities of Tāmaki Makaurau.”