Biological sciences and te reo Māori, a winning combination

18 May 2018

Tekiteora web

Scholarship winner Tekiteora Rolleston-Gabel with Freemasons Deputy Grand Master Graham Wrigley.

Tekiteora Rolleston-Gabel is studying for two degrees – a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science. Her grades are consistently good and that, coupled with her work as a mentor for first-year science students, has earned her a 2018 Freemasons University Scholarship worth $6000, one of four awarded to University of Waikato students.

Tekiteora (Tūhoe, Ngāti Kahu, Ngāi Te Rangi) is in the fourth and final year of her conjoint degree. She is a fluent speaker of te reo Māori and has always been interested in science, so studying both subjects at university was a natural fit.

“I’m keen to develop a career in scientific research with a focus on its correlation to the environment and mātauranga Māori,” she says. “I'm studying a range of subjects, including te reo Māori, ecology, and biochemistry.”

During her study years, Tekiteora has had internships with NIWA and Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research, which have given her a taste of research outside the University. At NIWA her project focused on marine ecology, identifying issues related to coastal environments.

She has also co-authored a paper for the wetlands resource Te Reo o te Repo, a collaboration between the Waikato Raupatu River Trust and Landcare Research. “I'm very grateful to have had opportunities to gain hands-on experience and further extend my understanding of science,” she says. She'd like to move on to Masters study next year.

Aside from her studies, Tekiteora is a student mentor and kaitiaki for the university’s Faculty of Science and Engineering.

“I’m humbled and delighted to receive the Freemasons Scholarship,” she says. “The generosity of the Freemasons will go a long way in supporting my studies here at the university.”

This is the 40th year the Freemasons have awarded student scholarships. The other 2018 Waikato recipients are Nicholas Broome who’s studying for a Master of Management Studies, Apriel Jolliffe Simpson who’s studying for a Bachelor of Social Sciences with honours – focussing on psychology and sociology, and Abby Pinkerton who will complete her Master of Music this year, majoring in composition.