Student gives back
‘‘[It’s] a lot colder, and I’m getting a lot of people staring at me.’’
That’s what Uputaua Matagi will have to deal with this autumn after the Whitireia Community Polytechnic nursing student had her locks shorn to raise money for Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand last week.
In the atrium, in front of hundreds of supporters and curious lunchtime onlookers, hairdressing students took scissors and clippers to her.
An impressive $ 1100 was collected on the day, with at least $200 raised online.
Ms Matagi says she has not been affected by cancer herself, nor has anyone in her family, but having her head shaved was symbolic of her starting a new period in her life.
The former Tawa College student, who has two young children, has received financial assistance towards her studies from the family of Plimmerton resident Tim Sheppard and the Whitireia Foundation and was keen to give something back.
‘‘ There are personal reasons behind why I did it and although I’m not a practising nurse yet, this gives me the power to do something as a student.
‘‘ The Leukaemia and Blood Cancer charity is a very worthy one.’’
There were plenty of tears, and not just because Ms Matagi was losing her hair. The support from her fellow nurses, other students and Whitireia staff was overwhelming.
‘‘ It was really
surprising, getting money from people I didn’t even know. Students are not rich people but they are so generous in other ways.’’
Ms Matagi expects to finish her studies in November and be registered by this time next year.
Shave for a cure: Upu Matagi kept smiling the whole time her head was being shaved last week, and received a raucous ovation at the conclusion.