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Otago Polytechnic veterinary nursing student Brooke Roberts started her travel to Aitutaki in the Cook Islands yesterday.
She is heading to Rarotonga to help run an ''emergency desexing clinic for cats''.
The clinic was being established after an urgent request from the Cook Islands SPCA on Saturday, due to a large number of pregnant cats on the island.
She had never been to the Cook Islands and was invited on Sunday.
''It has all been very rushed. It was an emergency, last-minute thing because they didn't have a nurse over there.''
Ms Roberts had accepted the offer immediately.
''I was like 'Yeah sure, it'll be cool' - why not go and neuter 70 cats in my free time,'' Miss Roberts said.
The 20-year-old packed her bags for her trip yesterday.
The luggage was ''chock-a-block'' with donated veterinary supplies, leaving limited space for about ''two or three'' outfits.
The cats had to be neutered in five days but there should be enough time for a ''lagoon cruise''.
She was in her second and final year of study as a veterinary student at the polytechnic, and worked part-time as a vet nurse at Mornington Veterinary Centre.
The opportunity in the Pacific came about because polytechnic veterinary nursing lecturer Holly Kendrick was on the board of Te Are Manu, a charity veterinary hospital in Rarotonga.