Over twenty University of Waikato Tauranga campus students gathered last night to celebrate receiving scholarships generously donated by the Tauranga Tertiary Campus Charitable Trust (TTCCT) and Acorn Foundation.
Key funders of the campus development, Tauranga City Council, Bay of Plenty Regional Council and TECT supported the Tauranga Tertiary Campus Charitable Trust to fund three scholarships ranging in value from $1,000 to $23,000 per year, for twenty students to study at the University of Waikato in Tauranga.
The Tauranga Campus First-in-Family Scholarship was designed to assist students from families with no history of tertiary study to embark on their university journey. The Tauranga Campus Returning Student Scholarship will enable students to continue on with their second or third year of tertiary education. The Tauranga Campus Research Masters Scholarship is awarded to a student undertaking a master’s thesis.
TECT General Manager Wayne Werder says the scholarships provide an opportunity for students to pursue tertiary education with reduced financial burden.
“We are proud to have been one of the key funders that made the Tauranga Campus a reality, and now through these scholarships we are making tertiary education more accessible to our local community, encouraging continued education, and supporting excellence.”
Master of Science (Research) student Anita Lewis was thrilled to be selected as the inaugural recipient of the Tauranga Campus Research Masters Scholarship. Without the financial boost, she would have been forced to put her postgraduate studies on hold and search for a job instead which, given the importance of her research on microplastics pollution in the Bay of Plenty, would’ve been a huge loss for the region.
“When I was looking at scholarships, I aimed high and decided that if I get this one, I’ll know that this is the path I need to follow,” says Anita. “I want to use science to make a difference and am grateful for the support to be able to continue my studies with the University of Waikato in Tauranga.”
Third-year teaching student Jake Angus is one of ten recipients of a Tauranga Campus Returning Student Scholarship. The popular takatāpui gender diverse student, with iwi affiliations to Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāpuhi and Tainui, currently juggles four jobs alongside his studies, is involved with the Mana Ake Ki Tauranga Moana Māori student group, and has taken on a new role as the Waikato Students’ Union board director representing the Tauranga student cohort. Jake says that receiving the TTCCT scholarship means the world to him.
“I am constantly concerned with my ever-increasing student loan debt so having some of that pressure relieved in my final year of study has given me immense peace of mind,” he says.
Three further scholarships were awarded by the Acorn Foundation. The Acorn Foundation Beverly Perszyk Scholarship is a two-year scholarship of $3,000, assisting a student from a family with no history of tertiary study to participate in a university education. Law student Britney Moore, of Ngāti Porou and Te Aitanga-A-Māhaki descent, was the inaugural recipient of the scholarship and also received a Tauranga Campus First-in-Family Scholarship.
“I still can’t get my head around it,” says Britney. “I’m beyond words… I haven’t ever had something this good happen to me.”
Britney was born and raised in Gisborne by her single mother Megan, whom she credits with instilling in her the importance of education, despite not finishing high school herself.
“Mum is my greatest supporter and has always pushed me to go to uni because she never did,” says Britney.
The former Gisborne Girls’ High School student says she was also fortunate to have strong support from her teachers who encouraged her to aim high and pursue a study path in Law.
“I am determined to succeed in gaining a university qualification and be a role model for my younger sister, my whānau and other young people in Gisborne,” she says. “My goal is to one day be able to give back to my community and stand proud as a young Māori woman and future New Zealand lawyer.”
Two other Acorn Foundation scholarships were awarded on the night. The Acorn Foundation Adult Learner Scholarship, a one-year scholarship of $3,000 assisting an adult female student to study at the campus was awarded to Nikki Wade, a master’s student in the Applied Community Psychology programme. The 13th Acorn Foundation Eva Trowbridge Scholarship, a one-year $3,000 scholarship for an adult student (25 years and over) to study at the campus, was awarded to Ebony Kahukura who is undertaking the Te Tohu Paetai programme so that she can deliver a total immersion Te Reo learning environment in primary school.
“Acorn donors are proud to support areas of the greatest needs in our community and are also committed to rewarding excellence. These three young women are incredibly deserving recipients of these scholarships, and we are thrilled to be able to provide a hand up as they undertake study at the University of Waikato Tauranga campus,” says Lori Luke, Acorn Foundation General Manager.
University of Waikato Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Alister Jones was delighted to attend the awards evening held at the Tauranga campus. “It’s wonderful to have the community supporting students’ access to and success in university education,” he says.