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Covid-19 information and updates

Wintec is operating at Alert Level 2. At Alert Level 2, you can go to work and school, but should follow public health measures and consider others around you.

In response to recent cases identified in the community, Auckland is in Alert Level 3. If you live in Auckland or have visited recently, check the contact tracing locations of interest

For more information about Alert Levels, visit https://covid19.govt.nz/alert-system/

Anyone who has cold or flu symptoms should get a test and stay home until you have a negative test result. You can find your local testing facility at https://www.healthpoint.co.nz/covid-19/

While we wait for more information, kia noho haumaru – stay safe and ensure you keep informed from Government sources.

Take care and we will keep you posted as the situation changes.

  • If you are unwell, stay at home.
  • If you begin to feel unwell or start to develop COVID-19 symptoms get a test immediately.
  • Contact Healthline on 0800 358 5453 to understand if and when you need to get tested.
  • If you receive a negative test, you need to continue monitoring your symptoms for the next 14 days. If you develop any Covid-19 symptoms you will need to organise another test. 
  • Ensure you wash your hands regularly with soap and water, or with hand sanitiser.
  • In Alert Level 2 you must wear a face mask on flights and public transport, but wearing a face covering in class or on campus is your choice.
  • At Alert Level 2, 1 metre distancing applies to education. Where this is not possible e.g. in the workshop or a tutorial, masks are supplied.

Education information at Alert Level 2.

If you have recently been tested for Covid-19 and you are a Wintec student or staff member, please advise us if you have been tested.

If you have been required to self-isolate please fill in this form  so that Wintec can offer you support and advice around your work or study situation.

On this page you can find our latest Covid-19 news and communications, FAQs (frequently asked questions) and additional resources to support you and your whānau during these unprecedented times.

We are here for you and the wider Wintec community and will continue to update you with information during this time through the Wintec website, student emails and on our Facebook pages. Additionally, you can contact us by email and phone during business hours, from Monday to Friday.

Wintec Updates

You can access all Wintec COVID-19 updates here for students and our community, including past and present communications.

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Check in to Wintec

To help keep everyone safe, all students, staff and visitors must check in using the NZ COVID Tracer App when you are on any of the Wintec campuses. Find more information and instructions here.

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Frequently asked questions

Do you have a question? Check out our frequently asked questions and answers here.

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Financial help

Students experiencing unexpected financial hardship affecting their study can apply for the Manaaki Financial Support Grant. Find information on this plus StudyLink, scholarships and free courses here.

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Unite against COVID-19

For government updates, resources and guidance, check out the New Zealand's dedicated COVID-19 site.

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StudyLink

Financial support is available for eligible students. Please check with StudyLink for information on this and your student loan or allowance.

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Looking after your health and wellbeing

You can find the full range of Wintec Support Services here and on our frequently asked questions page. We understand this may be a stressful time, and below are some additional tools and resources you may like to access.

External help

If you need help dealing with feelings of isolation or stress, please check out the Mental Health Foundation website. Here you will find a large range of information and resources to support you.

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Wintec Health Services

Find out what Wintec Health Services are available throughout this time and how to access them. In addition to counselling services, our wellbeing support provider, Benestar, is also available at this time.

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‘Need to Talk’

If at any time you wish to speak to someone you can free call or text 1737 to talk to a trained counsellor for free.

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Healthline

Healthline has set up a dedicated number specifically for COVID-19 related calls. Phone 0800 358 5453 or international +64 9 358 5453.

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Do you need help?

If you have additional questions or need help, please contact us by email or phone 0800 2 Wintec (0800 294 6832).

You can also read the Wintec Temporary Policy Amendments for information on our academic response to critical incidents.

News

Students take on the birds at Lake Rotopiko

Wintec students Sasha Dowling and Dip Barot onsite at Lake Rotopiko where too many birds are causing big problems

Wintec science students Sasha Dowling and Dip Barot are part of a research team at Lake Rotopiko where birds are creating a health risk.

Encouraging more native wildlife at a Waikato lake has created a developing health risk now that around 500,000 noisy ‘pest’ birds have moved in.

A science research team from Wintec have been working to help save Lake Rotopiko. They are part of a collaborative research project launched in 2020 between the National Wetland Trust, Wintec and Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology.

The Waikato forms the largest collection of peat lake habitats in New Zealand. Rotopiko, located south of Ōhaupō between Hamilton and Te Awamutu, provides a habitat for animals and plants adapted to these special wetland characteristics.

Since the completion of its pest-proof fence in 2013, and the successful eradication of mammalian pests (except mice),  the wetland area and its lake, has become a sanctuary for ‘pest’ birds, such as starlings and sparrows, which have now reached plague proportions. 

Wintec science tutor and academic, Nicolas Sandoval who is overseeing the Wintec research project says an issue with developing native sanctuaries like Rotopiko, is that exotic birds are able to use their defensive mechanisms, such as identifying predators, to know that inside the pest proof-fence the habitat is free of predators and safe for them to roost.

“The side effects of mammalian control have been overlooked and we are the first researchers to look into this.

“An estimated 500,000 birds arrive each night to roost at Rotopiko. They sleep together in groups shoulder to shoulder. The sound is deafening from this collective of birds squawking until sunrise where they then disperse until sunset.”

The research team recorded the resident birds during the day and again in the evening roosting time when their deafening sound becomes a clamour not unlike a thousand tambourines being played at one time. Sandoval says the contrast between the two demonstrates the scale of the roosting problem.

Listen to Lake Rotopiko resident birds during the day.

Listen to Lake Rotopiko birds at roosting time. (Warning: turn sound down.)


Wintec science students Sasha Dowling and Dip Barot are measuring guano at Lake Rotopiko where birds are creating a health risk.Wintec science students Sasha Dowling and Dip Barot are measuring guano at Lake Rotopiko where birds are creating a health risk.

Wintec science students, Dip Barot and Sasha Dowling (pictured above) have been carrying out multiple research activities since Wintec’s first involvement in June last year that aim to control the growing population of pest birds at the site.

Sasha says the Wintec research module was her favourite, and it was “an awesome opportunity to be able to have a hands-on learning experience”.

“This research module was great because it allowed me to collect real data and appreciate how much effort goes into research. We spent time in the classroom sharing ideas and brainstorming ways to make them happen. Then we would go out on the field testing and trying new ideas, collecting data, and learning about the New Zealand environment. Much of which we could not have been taught in the classroom.

“At the end of the module, we had all this data to analyse, it was really satisfying knowing that we had collected it ourselves.”

The students started by creating a monitoring index, placing 50 plates across the wetland to measure the amount of guano. They collected the results twice a day to determine how many roosting (night) and resident (day) birds are at the lake. Sound recorders were also used to give a different type of measure, and they compare their results to the plates to generate a robust monitoring system. 

“Creating the guano plates was interesting because, as far as we know, this method has not been used to measure a bird population of this size,” Sasha says.

With a monitoring system in place, this year the Wintec science research team will collect chemical and biological data to compare with the index. 

One of the new control methods being tested is by hanging bottles of wood vinegar from the trees. The vinegar is created by burning wood at a high pressure then condensing it down into a liquid. It works to disperse birds who do not like the fumes.

The students will also be able to test how quickly any control measures that are used change the chemistry or the microecology of the site, and if they have any effect controlling the population of birds. 

Find out more about studying science at Wintec.

Read more:

Wintec science student has research completed at Fonterra published

Passion for organics takes Eady from the farm to tertiary study

Wintec researcher in the race to provide relief for global Covid-19 victims


This story was written by Wintec third year Bachelor of Communication student, Orion Wall.