Pastoral care

The University has structures and processes in place to support students living in our accommodation—to help ensure academic success and support wellbeing.

The Pastoral Care Code, which applies to all tertiary institutions, supports the wellbeing of students while studying and includes specific guidance for caring for students in university accommodation.

At Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington, we are always working to ensure students living in our halls experience a safe, positive, supportive and inclusive environment that feels like home.

Keeping each other informed

Information for prospective residents about our accommodation is readily available on this website and in the Accommodation Guide.

Before moving in, all residents receive individual communications about how things work and the services available, and a copy of the Student Hall or Independent Living handbook.

We ask students to provide information about themselves through the ‘Getting to know you’ survey. This ensures we can place them in the most appropriate accommodation and once there, best support their needs.

Students are inducted into their hall through completing online Student Life learning modules. Here they can learn about settling into a hall, respectful relationships, and looking after their wellbeing.

All halls operate their own Facebook page to help keep residents connected and informed. Parents and whānau receive a regular newsletter outlining upcoming events, key dates and support services available, and our staff are available by phone or email to talk through any concerns.

Supportive staff

Our staff in each hall are responsible for the pastoral care of residents. The head and deputy head of hall and the night manager provide 24/7 care and oversight of students, and are responsible for managing any incidents.

Hall staff are supported by live-in residential advisers (RAs), who are senior students employed and trained by the University. The RAs role is to help build a sense of community and provide peer leadership and support to residents.

Every hall also has a student support coordinator, who is a qualified health professional such as a social worker, counsellor or occupational therapist. They are available to help students connect with the University’s health, counselling and academic services.

Staff training

All staff and RAs are police vetted and trained to ensure they are suitable and prepared for a role working in a student hall. Staff and RAs undergo three weeks’ training each year in a range of areas including mental health awareness, community building, emergency response, and diversity and inclusion. University Mauri Ora (Student Health and Counselling) staff also provide holistic wellness training for staff in halls.

Learn more about hall support staff.

A safe and healthy community

The University has a focus on building healthy and respectful communities. Information is shared with residents on wellbeing issues including bullying, discrimination, the importance of bystander intervention, consent, sexually harmful behaviour and how to get support.

Hall residents build their own communities and culture including agreeing any floor rules. In addition, halls have formal rules and expectations to help foster community and keep people safe, and these are clear in the hall’s handbooks.

The handbooks and this website provide additional information on a range of wellbeing topics including healthy eating, sleep, use of social media, alcohol use, and personal space and boundaries when living in a communal environment.

The halls work as restorative communities founded on mutual care and respect and use restorative justice processes to address conflict and rule breaking and repair harms.

Students can report any safety concerns by talking to hall staff or the Student Interest team, and for any urgent concerns, they should call the hall duty phone. Maintenance requests can be logged in the accommodation portal.

Emergency preparedness

Our emergency procedures are clearly communicated in the hall handbook and on posters placed around the halls. Students also learn what to do in an emergency during their online induction.

Checking in and getting help

Our halls use a relationship-based model to keep an eye on students’ wellbeing. Staff are part of the hall community and they get to know residents and what their ‘normal’ is.

Before students arrive, they are asked to talk to their parents or caregivers about their wellbeing goals and discuss how they will look after their emotional and physical wellbeing. This can include anything from joining the university gym to planning weekly phone calls home.

Regular contact

Hall staff have fortnightly informal meetings or chats with residents to check that they are doing ok and may review their wellbeing goals. In first-year halls, we also monitor residents’ participation in the hall community such as whether they are attending meals and events, and we follow up where there are any concerns.

The halls processes for checking and monitoring wellbeing are fully integrated into the wider University, and part of our role is to connect residents into the University’s wellbeing services.

Serious concerns

If hall staff have serious concerns about a resident’s wellbeing and think they are at risk of self-harm, there are processes in place to best support that student and their recovery, including for suicidal behaviour.

Find out more about student services and support.

When there is a problem

Detailed information for residents on how to give feedback, report a concern, or make a complaint is available in the handbooks and on this website.

Where harmful behaviours have occurred, students can get advice and support through the University’s Student Interest team.

The University provides a range of information to students about how to live successfully in a community, support each other and avoid conflicts, such as the Respectful communities web pages and the halls handbooks.

Diversity and inclusion

When halls select residents, they ensure a diverse community by considering gender balance, cultural diversity, degree type, and geographical representation.

We encourage students to join clubs and societies that connect them with their peers through cultural, religious and other groups.

Students with disabilities

Our halls are accessible to people with disabilities, and we provide individual advice as to which might best suit a resident’s particular needs. Students are connected to support services on campus via Te Amaru—Disability Services.

Rainbow students

The Rainbow community is welcome and supported in our halls. We run rainbow events, there are gender-neutral bathrooms available, and staff can connect students to clubs and services.

Learn more about services and support available for rainbow students at Te Herenga Waka.

Dietary needs

The halls can cater to dietary needs and preferences and provide vegetarian, vegan, and halal meals. They can also cater to those with food allergies and intolerances.

Hall contracts

Before moving into a hall, all residents sign a contract which clearly states the responsibilities of both the hall and the resident, the fees and refunds policies, complaints process and services available, and in signing, residents agree to follow the hall rules.

Hall handbooks and more information

More detailed information is available on how our accommodation service aligns with the Pastoral Care Code in these links: