International exposure growing for naked vet calendar
Getting their gear off is earning Massey University vet students international exposure for their annual naked calendar.
This is the 12th year that third-year students have stripped down to create the novelty Barely There fundraising calendar to raise money. It helps subsidise their Half Way Day, the mid-point in the five-year degree.
International student Daniel Guirguis said when he was in high school near Toronto friends and family began sending him links to the cheeky Kiwi calendar as soon as he decided to become a vet.
"It's made its way over there, it definitely seems to be world famous. Vets know about it."
His photos for the calendar include a group shot in a wool shed and a mocked-up sheep auction with a naked auctioneer and spectators.
"The first time is a bit weird no matter what you do, but after the first time you get naked it gets pretty normal. Everyone seems to get used to it as you go on, and everyone's comfortable.
"It's great fun, I enjoyed doing it, and it's good to finally know that you're halfway through."
Student organiser Samantha Christian said the calendar always generated a bit of media interest, but in the past few years it had grown. She hopes they'll get more international exposure this year, as they have a big cohort of internationals.
This year students separated into different groups to devise their own shots and organised their own photographers, so there was a wide range of different shots, she said.
Her own photo involved holding chooks in strategic positions, which turned out to be easier said than done.
"We haven't held chooks before for class, so it was a bit of wrestle, running around in various states of undress after chickens.
"I got scratched, on my stomach – but it was for a good cause."
About half of the year group took part, about 50 students.
"It's become such a tradition, a lot of people were very excited to go through it themselves, but then it's very strange and daunting to do."
There was plenty of joking before the shoots about "calendar toning" workouts.
Each year the group chooses a charity to support, and this year 10 per cent of the calendar's profits will be donated to Farmstrong, a campaign addressing mental illness and suicide in the farming community.
"In the vet profession mental illness is a very big issue, as well as in farming," Christian said.
"So it's definitely a very big issue in our hearts and something that doesn't get enough recognition."
The first print run of 1500 of the calendars is due to arrive in early April, and another run could be printed if there is enough interest. More information is at vetcalendar.co.nz.