It may be haere rā to Papamoa College for Brooke Bayly and Joshua Brown, but the year 13 students won’t have to go far when they start university next year. The pair are both recipients of a University of Waikato Ko Te Tangata Scholarship and will kick off 2019 at the new Tauranga campus in the heart of the city.
Brooke was “over the moon” when she received the scholarship. “I felt that everything that I had been through and everything I had worked for had paid off,” she says. With the first year of her Bachelor of Teaching (Primary) covered by the fees free initiative, Brooke will put the scholarship money towards her second year tuition fees. Living at home next year also means she can save money from her weekend job to keep her student debt at a minimum. “I am a home girl at heart,” she says. “Living at home while I study in Tauranga means I get the best of both worlds.”
Sydney-born Brooke called Australia home until her parents moved back to New Zealand when she was a toddler. She’s lived in Papamoa ever since and has always dreamt of being a teacher one day. Initially, her passion for photography had her set on the path of secondary teaching so she could specialise in that area. Instead, thanks to her year 6 teacher at Papamoa Primary School, Brooke opted to enrol in the primary programme. “My teacher, Jennie Abbot, made me think, ‘I want to be a teacher that is remembered, like Miss A’. Her style of teaching, the personal touches to everything she did, how much she cared for her students, and the impact she left on all of her students inspired me so much.”
First in her family to attend university, Brooke chose Waikato based on its reputation for producing quality teachers. “Everyone I asked recommended the University of Waikato as the best fit for me,” she says. Not just excited for semester A to roll around, Brooke is already thinking about the impact she wants to have on her students when she’s fully qualified. “I want to at least make a difference in one child’s life,” she says. “I want to help them to meet all their dreams and aspirations just like my teachers have.”
Like Brooke, Joshua is thrilled to have been awarded a Ko Te Tangata Scholarship to ease the financial pressure in his second year of study. “I’m so grateful to stay in Papamoa, live at home and have uni practically right on my doorstep,” he says.
As a youngster, after binge watching episodes of Animal Planet at his nanna’s, Joshua was adamant he’d be a professional snake catcher when he grew up. Fast forward ten years and the nearly 18-year-old still has wild ambition but he’s changed his tune about snakes. Instead, keen for a degree broad enough to be applied to lots of different careers, he’s enrolled in a Bachelor of Business, majoring in Strategic Management.
Born and raised in Maraetai, Auckland Joshua moved to Northern Ireland with his dad Chris, when he was nine. Before his mum and younger brother joined them, Chris took on the role of editor at the Belfast Telegraph while Joshua tried to acclimatise to life far away from Godzone. Joshua’s experience of primary school, with grounds more reminiscent of a prison yard, made him appreciate home even more when the family returned three years later. They based themselves in Papamoa to be near both sets of grandparents also in the Bay. “I think I suffered reverse culture shock when we moved back to New Zealand,” he says. “I got to enjoy grass again and had the added bonus of the sands of Papamoa Beach!” Suffice to say Joshua loves the region so much he’s reluctant to leave just yet.
Effusive in his praise of Papamoa College, Joshua is keen to maintain contact with the teachers who have guided him through his seven years there. “I’ve been blessed with some amazing teachers and I’ll be genuinely sad to say goodbye,” he says. The natural communicator could have opted for a path aligned more to his affinity for the dramatic arts, instead, with full credit to Waikato’s Senior Future Student Adviser, Andy Howells, Joshua decided to pursue a business degree that would further develop his leadership potential. “I went along to an Open Day and Andy really helped me pinpoint what I wanted to gain from the university experience. For me, choosing a degree that gives me options is the way to go.”
Now the student with a penchant for Shakespeare and novelty socks is hanging out to begin his next chapter. “I can’t wait to meet the other students in the first year intake at the new campus,” he says. “We’ll be making history together.”