Two scholarships, two role models

1 September 2014

Kiriana Isgrove

Double success: Kiriana Isgrove, winner of the Sir Apirana Ngata Memorial Scholarship and a Dame Te Atairangikaahu Regional Council Scholarship.

Kiriana Isgrove has a decision to make that many students would envy – whether to focus on biological science or follow a career in environmental science. She enjoys both and is struggling to choose what discipline to specialise in when she begins her masters degree next year.

Whatever she decides, two new scholarships will help finance her study. Kiriana, from Turua near Thames, has been awarded the Sir Apirana Ngata Memorial Scholarship and a Dame Te Atairangikaahu Waikato Regional Council Scholarship.

Her Sir Apirana Ngata Memorial Scholarship is worth $2000 and is awarded annually to students on the basis of academic achievement, a strong interest in Māori culture and language, and involvement in cultural or community activities. Preference is given to descendants of Māori World War I veterans.

Learning about family history

Kiriana says applying for the scholarship made her dig into her own family history to learn her great grandfather Hautangi Peke fought in the Great War and returned. “It’s a nice thought that though I never met my great grandfather, he’s helping me out today.”

Sir Apirana Ngata was a Māori leader, politician, statesman and scholar and Kiriana says he showed courage and leadership throughout his life. “Qualities that I try to incorporate in my life – stamina and determination to stick at something. I remember my first year at university, it was overwhelming, but I was determined to tough it out and now I’m preparing for a masters.”

Third time lucky

Equally inspiring for Kiriana was the late Māori queen Dame Te Atairangikaahu. “I’ve applied for this scholarship for the last three years – it was important to me to win one of these – not just for the money, but because she’s been a role model. She showed that you can be gentle and caring, but also be a strict and courageous leader when the need arises.”

Kiriana’s scholarship is worth $600, “and that’s helpful because postgraduate students don’t qualify for a student allowance” she says.

Student mentor and ambassador

To help pay for her studies Kiriana works part-time at Digipoll. She is also a Māori student mentor and a Waikato University student ambassador.

Three other Dame Atairangikaahu Waikato Regional Council Scholarships were awarded to Waikato University students this year. Gina Reed received $2000 towards her study in environmental planning. Bachelor of Arts student Hemi Hill was awarded $800 and Brendon Tangiora received $600 for his Bachelor of Social Sciences (hons) study.

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