Breadcrumbs

Student focussed on sustainability with the aim of helping her iwi

31 October 2019

Abbey Huriwai
Abbey Huriwai, pictured at the Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu Scholarship awards, hopes to take what she learns in environmental science to help her iwi on issues of sustainability.

A campaign to curb McDonald’s single use straws spurred Hamilton student Abbey Huriwai to study Environmental Science and Biodiversity at the University of Waikato.

Miss Huriwai says she has always had an interest in biology, and at high school one of her teachers spoke a lot about environmental problems facing the world.

“It was after seeing a video about single use plastic straws we decided to launch a campaign aimed at McDonald’s.”

Miss Huriwai and two friends launched the campaign to have McDonald’s stop offering single use plastic straws. They campaigned to have a “straw on request” policy implemented by McDonald’s.

“Ultimately McDonald’s didn’t want to change what they were doing, but the campaign definitely furthered my interest in sustainability issues,” Miss Huriwai said.

Miss Huriwai, who is connected to Waikato-Tainui and Maniapoto iwi, is in her first year of study at the University of Waikato.

She said there weren’t as many Māori students moving into environmental sciences and she believed it was an important area for Māori to be involved.

“We can work towards helping our own iwi and hapū. I’d love to be able to work for my iwi one day in the area of sustainability. There are so many issues from our marae, and the land connected to that including our rivers and waterways. I’d like to be part of helping to protect that eventually.”

She said her first year at the University of Waikato has been a challenging one and she hopes to broaden her area of study in 2020, taking more environmental planning and environmental biodiversity papers.

“I guess my ultimate job would be working for Waikato-Tainui or with one of the councils in an environmental sustainability role. Doing the double major is great because it will open up career options for me when I enter the workforce later,” Miss Huriwai said.

She is currently living at home with her parents while studying, and said she continues to encourage them to live more sustainably as well, helping to reduce the family’s waste.

“It’s just little things. Like I got my mum those reusable produce bags to use. We’re always looking for how we can do things more sustainably. Every little bit helps.”

Miss Huriwai is one of nine recipients of the Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu Scholarship, supported by Waikato Regional Council and Waikato-Tainui. She received $1000 towards the first year of her study for a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Environmental Science and Ecology and Biodiversity.

The scholarships were established in 1991 to mark the 25th anniversary of Te Atairangikaahu becoming Māori queen, to pay tribute to her leadership and help Māori studying at the University of Waikato.

Latest stories

Related stories

Award-winning Waikato student researching wave power for sustainable energy

A University of Waikato PhD student plans to harness the power of New Zealand’s coastlines…

Lead researcher Prof Albert Bifet

Waikato Data Scientists awarded $13 million

Data scientists at the University of Waikato have been awarded $13 million from the Government.

Dr Lee Streeter

Time-of-flight researcher awarded by Royal Society

Dr Lee Streeter has solved a big problem in time-of-flight technology, improving the measurement of…

STEM Fest

Uni campus hosts STEM Festival in Tauranga

As a main sponsor of the country's first world-class STEM Festival (STEMFest) event, the University…

UoW Rutherford Fellows

$1.6m awarded to Waikato University’s new Rutherford Fellows

Two top researchers have been awarded a highly prestigious award to carry out their research…

Emma Walker and Thomas Archbold

University students receive hefty scholarship to study at Cambridge

Two University of Waikato students have landed a substantial scholarship that has opened the door…

Waikato scientists ranked as some of most-influential in the world

23 Waikato scientists appear in a new international database of the 100,000 most influential scientists…

Kudos 2019

Time-of-flight technology and internet behaviour secure Kudos Awards for top researchers

Two University of Waikato researchers have been recognised for their scientific prowess at the Kudos…

Dr Chris Tanner (NIWA), Associate Professor Maui Hudson, Tim Manakau

Celebrating Lakes Resilience

A four-year MBIE-funded research programme led by the University’s Environmental Research Institute and School of…

Lynley St George

Student gets internship to NASA

A University of Waikato student has landed the opportunity of a life-time by securing an…

University of Waikato partnership with Genomics Aotearoa

University of Waikato extends partnership with Genomics Aotearoa

Key leaders from the University of Waikato met with representatives from Genomics Aotearoa (GA) today…

James Brasington web

Beware the zombie river

New Zealanders are in danger of creating “zombie” rivers, because we’re locking our waterways into…