Meet the Team

You couldn’t ask for friendlier faces than those you’ll see at OUSA Student Support! With a wealth of experience and knowledge, the team is ready for absolutely anything you have to throw at them. Feel free to just pop on in but you can email ahead and make an appointment if you wish.

Sage Burke – Student Support Manager

Sage is the Student Support Manager. Sage can be contacted on 03 479 5449, 0800 12 10 23 or

Dwaine Tait – Senior Student Support Advocate

Dwaine is our Senior Student Support Advocate. He graduated from the University of Hawaii with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 1997 and with his Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology in 2002. Dwaine is a trained marriage and family therapist, multi-systemic therapist and has been working in the field of counseling, social work and education for the last 25 years, he recently returned home to New Zealand after living and working in the U.S. and Europe. When Dwaine isn’t in the office, you’ll find him wing-foiling on the water. Dwaine can be contacted on, 0800 12 10 23 or 03 479 5449.

Rachel – Student Support Advocate – Queer Focused

Rachel is our Queer Focused Student Support Advocate. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Gender Studies in 2016 and is currently completing her Master’s of Health Psychology. Outside of the office, Rachel lives with her partner and their two dogs and she enjoys getting out on hikes, writing, and gardening. Rachel can be contacted at, or by phone at 0800 12 10 23 or 03 479 5449.

Beth – Student Support Advocate

Beth is one of our Student Support Advocates. Beth is a Registered Social Worker, and completed her social work degree at Otago University in 2012. Outside of life at Student Support, Beth dabbles in some sewing projects, making clothes and extra bits and bobs for the house, which she probably definitely doesn’t need, but they look really cool anyway. Beth can be contacted on, 0800 12 10 23 or 03 479 5449.

Rayna – Student Support Advocate

Rayna is also one of our Student Support Advocates. Rayna has a background in Occupational Therapy and taught at Otago Polytechnic for many years. She grew up and raised her own family in Dunedin and has recently settled back after a two year campervan trip and working holiday around the North Island. She loves organic gardening, learning about the night skies and bird-watching. Rayna can be contacted on, 0800 12 10 23 or 03 479 5449.

Nicky – Student Support Advocate / Registered Social Worker

Nicky is a Student Support Advocate and Registered Social Worker, completing her degree at Otago University back in 2012. Nicky was born and raised in beautiful Dunedin but also spent time living and working in Melbourne and London. In Nicky’s spare time, she enjoys to travel, tramping and being in nature, Barre Base, and going to music gigs. But what she loves most is spending time with her strong minded 2.5 year old Evie and her lovely partner Hamish. Nicky can be contacted on, 0800 12 10 23 or 03 479 5449.

Leda – Student Support Administrator / Class Representative Coordinator

Leda is the Student Support Administrator and Class Representative Coordinator. Leda has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from the University of Otago. Outside of work she loves cooking, gardening, hikes and horse riding! Leda can be contacted on, 0800 12 10 23 or 03 479 5449.

Ella – Kaitautoko Kurī 🐾 Official OUSA Student Support Dog

Ella is our resident support dog. Ella is a rescue dog originally from South Africa who moved with her family to Dunedin early 2019. She successfully interviewed for a position at Student Support a few months after her arrival, and hasn’t looked back since.

She loves her job and meeting different people every day. Ella is also available for love and hugs when you just want some quiet space or you are missing your own pooch at home. She loves being there for students who perhaps need quiet time, cuddles and emotional support, and loves being able to help facilitate people talking to the Support Advocates.

Ella loves walks, talking to different people and dogs on the beach, and she definitely has a nose for all good food! Ella lives with two doggie friends and her favourite cat, Fred.