Former Te Wharekura o Rakaumangamanga student Panirau Paekau (17) is starting university this week thanks to the University of Waikato’s Te Ara ki Angitū: Pathways to Excellence programme.
Established in 2015, the newly expanded programme gives regional students greater access to tertiary study through subsidised daily bus services, access to fees scholarships, mentoring and learning support.
Panirau (Waikato/Ngapuhi) has received a $3000 Te Ara ki Angitū scholarship and says it’s a big help towards covering her tuition fees. She’s also saving money by living at home in Ngaruawahia and catching the bus to and from university each day.
“The bus only costs $1 each way and we have access to a whānau room on campus to study and catch-up in between classes,” says the Bachelor of Arts student.
Five University buses will run from select towns across the Waikato, and will travel Monday to Friday to and from the University during the semester. The buses will bring students from as far as Te Kauwhata, Thames, Waihi, Matamata, Tokoroa and Te Kuiti, with pick-up points along the way.
Once on campus, students will have access to a dedicated pastoral care programme.
Panirau found out about the pathways programme when a University of Waikato Future Student Advisor visited her school. “A group of us applied online that day and all four of us were accepted and received scholarships.”
More than $350,000 in scholarships have been awarded to new students entering the programme this year.
Launched last year in partnership with Tokoroa and Putaruru High Schools in South Waikato, Te Ara ki Angitū: Pathways to Excellence has expanded to include 25 schools across Hauraki, Thames-Coromandel, Matamata-Piako, Waikato, South Waikato and Otorohonga-Waitomo districts.
The programme is a key part of the University of Waikato’s regional engagement strategy and regional and district communities are expressing strong support for the initiative.