Phil Booth is a Master's student and innovator at Wintec's Centre for Transdisciplinary Research and Innovation (CeTRI). Phil grew up spending time in the garage with his Grandad, inventing all kinds of things from engineering equipment for the local sawmill, to the very first concrete tilt slab roundhouse. Problem-solving and innovation comes second nature to him after spending so much time around his entrepreneurial grandfather.
At 22 he broke his neck playing rugby, leaving him a C5/C6 tetraplegic with no feeling at all from his shoulders down and no hand function. Rehabilitation became the focus of his life. His first big goal, which seemed simple, to push a manual chair from the lino onto the lounge carpet, took 12 months of training with Alistair Richardson at Les Mills to achieve.
Next, he jumped at the chance to undergo an operation that would give him enough triceps muscle function to achieve his ultimate goal of driving a vehicle. After the operation, he found himself on a turning bed for six weeks with both arms in casts. He looked like he had been crucified and as it just happened to be Easter, he had plenty of jokes thrown his way. After the casts came off he had braces on his arms which were adjusted 10° each week, until he could scratch his face again. An entire year dedicated to the seemingly simple goal of using the hand controls of a vehicle.
Equipped with skills and knowledge from life experiences, Phil recently completed his Postgraduate Certificate and is now embarking on a Master’s degree in Transdisciplinary Research and Innovation. His project centres around solving beach accessibility for people with limited mobility and wheelchair users. With a family of his own, a wife and two young daughters, Phil’s Masters focus is working on a prototype wheelchair which allows a disabled person to interact with their family on a quintessential Kiwi day at the beach.
Morag MacKenzie has worked at Wintec for the past three and a half years as an Academic Staff Member and nursing lecturer within the Centre for Health and Social Practice. She teaches in the Enrolled Nursing and the Bachelor of Nursing Programmes, as well as supporting students in clinical practice in one of the Dedicated Education Units at Waikato Hospital.
Currently Morag also has the opportunity to study with the Centre for Transdisciplinary Research and Innovation, firstly towards a Certificate and then to complete a Masters in Transdisciplinary Research and Innovation (MTRI). She is finding it exciting to be able to combine her industry knowledge of nursing and the health sector with practical real-world studies and solution focussed research. Morag and other MTRI students are finding that the process of formulating a truly innovative transdisciplinary research project cannot be rushed. Her project, which she is working towards finalising, will address some of the following themes:
- innovation in health for rural communities
- ageing workforce and elder care
- impact of cultural diversity on the workplace
- future of education, learning and work.
Morag is very passionate about supporting students with fewer opportunities to study, New Zealand's enrolled nursing workforce, the socialisation of nursing and the consideration of barriers to study, and social determinants of health. Her areas of speciality nursing experience include Gerontology and Rehabilitation, and Morag has a personal interest in Mental Health and whanau support.