With face coverings now compulsory on most public transport, staff at Ucol Manawatū have crafted reusable and washable fabric masks for their students.

The staff have been sewing, cutting, and putting their threading skills to use, producing face masks for the students who bus in to campus from Whanganui and within Palmerston North.

Library assistant Lynda Whale had been making masks for her colleagues, and suggested spending a lunchtime making masks to give to students.

This evolved into a day-long session with the Student Success team producing over 90 masks.


Whale, a former fashion lecturer at Ucol Whanganui, provided the fabric from her own supply.

"I previously worked for a curtain company as an interior advisor, so I had lots of bits and pieces of fabric left over from that.

"I have a craft shed at home full of stuff," says Whale.

"Masks can be expensive, so this seemed like a good use of the material."

Student Success Senior manager Victoria Blockley-Powell says a number of students have approached her team wanting to know where they could get masks after the Government announced the new regulations.

"Some students were concerned about what would happen if they got to the bus stop and didn't have a mask or if they only had one disposable one.

"If students have a need for something we like to provide it, so I'm glad that we've been able make these masks that students can wash and reuse.

"It was a real team effort."


At Ucol Whanganui, fashion lecturer Stephanie West held a workshop for staff to make their own masks.

She followed this up with session where staff made masks for students who ride the buses.

Lynda Whale sews masks for Ucol students who ride the buses.
Lynda Whale sews masks for Ucol students who ride the buses.