Outstanding scholars win Sir Edmund Hillary medals

9 February 2011

Edward King

Edward King: Graduates with a Bachelor of Music (Hons) in May and is embarking on overseas study to pursue his career as a solo cellist.

A cellist and a cricketer are the recipients of 2010 Sir Edmund Hillary medals awarded by the University of Waikato. Edward King will graduate with a Bachelor of Music (Hons) in May and is embarking on overseas study to pursue his career as a solo cellist.

Cricket all rounder Steven Rae will graduate with a Bachelor of Management Studies (Hons)/Bachelor of Science with majors in Accounting and Statistics. His study isn’t finished yet either.

Sir Edmund Hillary medals are awarded annually to Waikato University Hillary Scholars who have excelled academically and in their chosen art or sport throughout their university careers.

For Edward King, the last year has provided several opportunities to perform internationally and given him a taste of what a solo career might be like. He won first prize at the New Zealand National Concerto Competition in Christchurch and toured the UK as part of the Leonari Trio after they won the Pettman/Royal Overseas League International Scholarship.

Then he and fellow Waikato student Santiago Canon Valencia were the only Australasian-based cellists selected to compete in the Beijing International Cello Competition. “That was an amazing experience, mixing with 40 other cellists from all over the world and meeting the jury of 13 superstar players.” He and Santi were given master classes after the competition with tutors from the Sydney Conservatorium and the Paris Conservatoire.

Now King is considering where to study for his masters degree. He has been awarded a Universities New Zealand Patricia Pratt Scholarship which will enable him to travel overseas. “I’ve been offered a place at the Guildhall in London, but at the moment Germany is looking more likely,” he says.

King was a Hillary Scholar for four years, taught by James Tennant from the University’s Music Department. “It’s been amazing, really. Without having to pay fees, I’ve had so much more time to focus purely on my music; often I’d be practising four or more hours a day in addition to lectures and rehearsals. The University’s high performance managers were always on my case – in a good way – constantly working with me to review my goals encouraging me to work even harder. They held me to account and that was a good motivator.”

Steven Rae became an expert in time management during his study years. He began his university career as a 19-year-old and the same year captained the Northern Districts under 19s. He is currently working for Hamilton accountancy firm Vazey Child and playing his club cricket in Te Puke where he has captained the top side and also leads the Bay of Plenty Development team. He’s decided to continue studying part-time.

Steven Rae

Steven Rae: Plans to study for his Master of Management Studies part-time well working for Hamilton accountancy firm Vazey Child.

“I’m now part of the higher degree Hillary programme and have decided to do my Master of Management Studies looking at sustainability reporting in mining companies. I had been thinking about doing it for a while and it’s turned out to be a topical and relevant subject.”

Rae says that the impact and benefits of being a Hillary Scholar aren’t always easy to assess but it’s so much more than having fees paid. “I think the experiences and opportunities presented to us – the different workshops we do, the visiting speakers – open our eyes to what’s possible, test us and give us a confidence to adapt in unfamiliar environments. It’s helped me so much in my development as a cricketer and captain.”

The University of Waikato’s high performance manager Greg O’Carroll says King and Rae have made significant contributions to the Hillary programme during the last few years.  “They have been prepared to give back and take nothing for granted. They’re shining examples of where hard work and commitment can lead you. But they haven’t stopped yet and we look forward to being part of their continued progress.”

Steven Rae and Edward King will receive their medals and $1500 at their graduation ceremonies in May.

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