University welcomes this year’s high achieving scholars

6 March 2020

Kristie Baillie and Robbie Maris
Hillary scholar Kristie Baillie (left) and Te Paewai o te Rangi scholar Robbie Maris (right) were keynote speakers at the 2020 high achieving scholars welcome.

Waikato University’s newest recipients of the 2020 Sir Edmund Hillary, Te Paewai o te Rangi, Te Ara Whānui and Pacific Excellence scholarships were officially welcomed this week.

Waikato University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Neil Quigley, and Dean of the School of Graduate Research, Professor Kay Weaver, welcomed and acknowledged this year’s best and brightest who have received the University’s most prestigious scholarships for high achievement.

Professor Quigley opened the proceedings and recognised the significant role each scholarship plays in alleviating barriers to study.

“The key thing about our scholarship programmes are that they are designed to ensure you have the ability to achieve the potential that we saw in you when we were allocating those scholarships,” says Professor Quigley.

“I would like to thank all of you for being a part of the University of Waikato community. This University is a place that has a strong sense of community, but it combines that with genuine academic excellence and the research work that our staff have built.”

Keynote speakers for the event were Sir Edmund Hillary Scholar Kristie Baillie, and Te Paewai o te Rangi: The University of Waikato Scholarship for Outstanding Academic Achievement recipient, Robbie Maris.

Baillie, who is studying towards a Master of Health, Sport and Human Performance, is a former track and field athlete.

Her athletic career highlights include winning the Senior Womens 400m at the 2012 New Zealand Track and Field Championships, coming second in the Senior Womens 200m and third in the 100m.

She was also a last-minute selection to represent New Zealand at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, as a reserve member of the Womens 4x400m Relay Squad.

“In reflecting on my time here at the University of Waikato, it has given me two key things which far exceed the array of knowledge I’ve gained. These include the gift of learning how to learn, and a lens to which to see the world,” says Baillie.

“I offer my gratitude to the University of Waikato and the Vice-Chancellor for such an epic learning journey. And I feel grateful, deeply and truly, to the Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship programme, it’s phenomenal leaders, my fellow scholars, and of course, to Sir Edmund Hillary himself.”

Te Paewai o te Rangi recipient, Robbie Maris, is in his second year of a conjoint degree where he’s studying towards a Bachelor of Business and a Bachelor of Science.

In his first year of study, Maris achieved a GPA average of 9.0, or A+, in all his papers. He was also awarded a Summer Research Scholarship, where he worked with Priority One in Tauranga to research and develop a business case for brown seaweed cultivation.

As part of his keynote, Maris congratulated the scholars and said the fact that they received a high achiever scholarship means they’ve exceeded in a range of areas, not just academically.

“This University has seen your drive, potential and determination, and they’ve made a conscious decision to invest in your future,” says Maris.

“If I was to give one overarching piece of advice, it would be to get out there, put your hand up for things, and be proactive. Get involved with everything the University has to offer, because there are so many opportunities that await you.”

The Sir Edmund Hillary, Te Paewai o te Rangi, Te Ara Whānui and Pacific Excellence scholarships are Waikato University’s flagship scholarships.

Both Te Ara Whānui and Pacific Excellence scholarships are worth up to $10,000, while the Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship is valued up to $10,000 per annum and Te Paewai o te Rangi is valued up to $25,000 over three years.

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