Bay of Plenty’s Travis Moke and Shyanne Erueti will be the first in their whānau to go to university and will do so as the inaugural recipients of the Waitaha-A-Hei/University of Waikato Scholarship, worth $14,500 each.
Travis and Shyanne, who both achieved merit and excellence across their subjects at their respective secondary schools, Te Puke High School and Tauranga Girls’ College, are equal parts “overwhelmed and grateful” to be the first of their iwi to receive the new scholarship.
Waitaha Charitable Trust education services manager Te Arangi Anasta says the Trust celebrates Shyanne and Travis’ education journey. “And we’re pleased that their dedication and hard work has paid off. They will go down in history as the first two mokopuna of Waitaha to receive this Scholarship.”
The duo enjoyed a double dose of success when they received a further scholarship each at their recent high school prize-giving ceremonies. Travis received a coveted Te Paewai o te Rangi Scholarship worth $25,000 at Te Puke High School’s prize-giving, while Shyanne received a Ko Te Tangata Scholarship worth $3000 at the Tauranga Girls’ College ceremony.
Tauranga-born and Paengaroa-raised and of both Waitaha and Tapuika descent, Travis was excited when he was given the news about the first scholarship. “I was really glad to see the support coming from the local iwi, they put in a lot of work to be able to offer us this scholarship and I’m eternally grateful for everything they have done,” he says.
The high school prefect has been consistently active in school life, participating in lip sync and drama performances, science and speech competitions (winning the annual speech competition twice), and receiving top marks in Chemistry two years running. The community-spirited teen is also a registered lifeguard with Pukehina Surf Rescue. Inspired by his chemistry teacher, Travis has opted to study a Bachelor of Science because it feels like the “right fit”. He’s keen to pursue a career in environmental sciences, studying soil science and water. “By working in the environment I want to help make our planet cleaner and create a greener future,” he says.
Shyanne, also of Ngāti Ranginui and Ngāti Hangarau descent, was born and bred on a farm in the Kaimai's and knew from an early age she wanted to be involved in the arts. Initially a keen singer and performer, Shyanne says she remembers losing her confidence at primary school when she was told she wasn’t good enough for the stage. Three years ago, Shyanne’s mum pushed her to join the school choir at Tauranga Girls’ College. She did – reluctantly, but it was the best decision she could have made. “Thanks to the support of the College I grew conﬁdence in myself again. They allowed me to be my true self,” she says. “Now I’ve grown into a beautiful, strong, independent young wahine who has come out of her little shy shell.”
Shyanne has flourished under the tutelage of the College’s music and drama department. The Tauranga Girls’ Chorale (singing group), which Shyanne was part of for four years, received the highest score in an international competition. She’s performed in multiple school bands, choirs, drama and musical groups and has represented at national and international competitions. She placed second two years running at the Lip Synch competition. This year saw the talented teenager adopt more leadership roles across the school. She was the 2018 Student Leader, sat on the Student Council, co-ran the Year 13 Mini Council, led the LBDs (contemporary choir), and took on a lead role as the Wardrobe (Madame De La Grande Bouche), in the joint Tauranga Girls’ and Tauranga Boys’ production of Beauty and the Beast.
Along with the two major scholarships, Shyanne has also taken out three special school awards: The John Mark Memorial Trophy for outstanding service to the College and community, and the Dillon Plate for contribution to the Student Council. She also received the Māreikura Taonga Supreme Arts Award – “for a humble woman who gives strength and supports others to excel in the Arts”.
Shyanne is still undecided whether to pursue an acting and singing career or become a drama teacher. To cover all bases she’s enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Theatre Studies minoring in Screen and Media Production, then she’ll continue on to a Graduate Diploma of Teaching. "I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for me and I’m so grateful I have been given this opportunity,” she says.
The Waitaha-A-Hei/University of Waikato Scholarship was established earlier this year when the University and the Waitaha Charitable Trust entered into a partnership agreement, as part of a mutual commitment to build a long-term relationship and to support the academic success of students from the Waitaha iwi. The Scholarship was specifically designed to provide a supportive student environment that fosters the mind (opportunity to study at university), body (healthy lifestyle) and soul (a supportive community environment), all of which are demonstrably beneficial to academic and life-long progress. To that end, it consists of an accommodation credit in a fully catered Halls of Residence on the Hamilton campus worth $13,500, free WiFi, $500 towards compulsory course costs, and a one-year membership to UniRec - the on-campus health and fitness centre, worth $500.
For more information on the scholarships available to study at the University of Waikato’s Hamilton or Tauranga campuses, check out the scholarships finder on the University’s website.