A helping hand for student teachers

22 August 2018

Patricia Sunnex
Kupe Scholarship recipient Patricia Sunnex.

Eight Māori and Pacific student teachers from the University of Waikato were awarded a 2018 Kupe Scholarship by Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis in a ceremony held at Parliament last week.

The TeachNZ scholarships are awarded annually by the Ministry of Education to recognise talented Māori and Pacific students, and to support them to complete their teaching qualification. Scholarships are awarded to students with strong academic success and demonstrable leadership experience. Kupe scholars receive an allowance of $15,000 over the period of study, plus course fees and professional mentoring and recruitment support after graduation.

Graduate Diploma of Teaching student Patricia Sunnex says the award serves as a symbol of her commitment to being confident and culturally competent in her profession.

Patricia Sunnex with Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis and Pacific panellists Leautuli’ilagi Sauvao (left) and Andrew Perez (far left). Photo credit: Lance Lawson

“One of the things that attracted me to study early childhood education was that I share the same vision as the early childhood curriculum Te Whāriki,” Patricia says. “I want to support children to grow up as confident and capable learners who are strong in their identity, language and culture. I’m proud of my Samoan heritage and of the exposure I’ve had with Māoritanga over my lifetime, and I hope to not only be a great early childhood teacher but also an advocate for empowering Pasefika and Māori learning development and achievement.”

Kupe Scholarship recipient Joanna Toloa.

Auckland born and raised, Graduate Diploma of Teaching student Joanna Toloa says it’s a privilege to receive this award.

“As a Pasifika and Māori woman, this honour has confirmed that I’m in the right place, and only encourages me to ensure our next Pasifika and Māori generation is lifted up and inspired to pursue their passions and become lifelong learners," she says. "It’s not been an easy road to get where I am today. As a wife and mother to three beautiful children, I’m motivated to give every student who enters my classroom the best chance for success in their learning. I owe it to our communities to help our people become the warriors that they are."

Bachelor of Teaching student Arlenna Porteners from Tauranga is thrilled to have been awarded the scholarship. “To have the passion and vision I have as a teacher affirmed and recognised is a humbling experience,” she says. “More than that though, this process has been a wonderful way to show my own children that they can be proud of their culture and they can see themselves as successful learners.”

Arlenna Porteners with Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis and Pacific panellists Leautuli’ilagi Sauvao (left) and Andrew Perez (far left). Photo credit: Lance Lawson

Dean of Te Kura Toi Tangata Faculty of Education Professor Don Klinger says the University of Waikato students’ scholarship success was well deserved. “I was delighted to hear that eight of our students received the highly prestigious Kupe Scholarship,” he says. “This is a national award recognising outstanding Māori and Pacific students, and given there are only 30 such scholarships awarded across the country, having more than 25% of the awards come to our faculty is a true testament to the quality and dedication of our students. On behalf of Te Kura Toi Tangata Faculty of Education I want to express what an honour it is that these students have chosen to work with us as they pursue their education degrees and diplomas.”

Full list of University of Waikato 2018 Kupe Scholarship recipients:

Joanna Toloa, Graduate Diploma of Teaching

Arlenna Porteners, Bachelor of Teaching

Patricia Sunnex, Graduate Diploma of Teaching

Damian Darlington, Master of Teaching and Learning

Shannon Mackey, Graduate Diploma of Teaching

Anthony Hemopo, Graduate Diploma of Teaching

Moroni Peneha, Bachelor of Teaching

Kataraina Hotene, Graduate Diploma of Teaching

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