The sound of breaking crockery raised cheers at Whanganui UCOL - and it wasn't hospitality students throwing plates in the kitchen.

In the courtyard, students were writing words like "exams", assignments" and "finance" on china plates and throwing blocks of wood at them.

Te Reo Moana Whakaruru said it was "very satisfying" when her missiles found their mark and being rewarded with a chocolate bar felt pretty good as well.

UCOL Whanganui student Te Reo Moana Whakaruru enjoyed some smash therapy during Stress-Less Week. Photo / Bevan Conley
UCOL Whanganui student Te Reo Moana Whakaruru enjoyed some smash therapy during Stress-Less Week. Photo / Bevan Conley

It was all part of Stress-Less-Week and the smash-therapy session was part of a series of lunchtime activities aimed at easing end-of-year tensions.


Student Life co-ordinator Elise Goodge said the Koha Shed had donated boxes of cracked and chipped plates to the cause.

"It's almost the end of the academic year, which can be a stressful time for students with exams and assignment deadlines looming," Goodge said.

"We have organised some activities that are known to reduce stress."

The smash therapy on Monday was followed by Tranquil Tuesday when students got to experience activities such as aromatherapy sessions and Thai massage and on Wednesday the Canine Friends Pet Therapy team visited.

Campus manager Bronwyn Paul said it can be a stressful time of year for staff as well as students.

"We all need to find strategies to manage our stress levels and these activities are brilliant," Paul said.

UCOL students are able to seek help from their lecturers or the Student Success team.

Student Success senior manager Coral Hanna said September and October are always the busiest months for the team.


"Mental health, physical health, relationships and workload management were the common needs identified by students."

Hanna said the team has seen 103 students for 188 wellbeing appointments this year.

"That is almost 15 per cent of the total student population at UCOL Whanganui.

"There were 78 referrals to the Youth Services Trust or other external community services."

The Whanganui District Health Board-funded Youth Services Trust provides health and counselling services tailored to the needs of young adults.

"Learning advisors provide help with exam strategies, revision techniques and facilitate study groups.


"It's important to look after your physical health when studying for exams so UCOL staff and students have started a walking group."

Recognising the signs of stress and seeking help for ways to address them was sometimes the hardest part, Hanna said.