Stu­dent gives back

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

‘‘[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.

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