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.

Latest stories

Related stories

Callum Saunders

Waikato athletes in Birmingham

Thirteen University of Waikato students and alumni will be competing in this year’s Commonwealth Games…

Bethany Angus

Lucrative scholarships support University of Waikato graduates overseas

Bethany Angus, Felicity Tomkins and Gracie Francis have been awarded the Kia Ora Foundation Patricia…

Former Hillary Scholar switches codes

From basketball to acting – University of Waikato alumnus Connor Johnston is using the skills…

Filipe Manu

Taking on the world stage

Sitting in his Swiss apartment, Tongan-New Zealand tenor and University of Waikato alumnus Filipe Manu…

Majenta Gaffar

Linking passion with education

From the moment young Majenta Gaffar got plopped in front of the telly by her…


2021 Hillary Medalists named

Two alumni, Courtney Richmond and Tim Neild, have been named as the 2021 Hillary Medalists…

Shaun Kirkham

Hard work and dedication a winning combo for alumnus and Olympian

Fresh from winning an Olympic Gold medal, Shaun Kirkham is using his experience as a…


From burnout to balance - prioritising wellbeing as an elite athlete

Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship alumna and former Black Stick Brooke Neal is on a mission…

A passion for sports science: Dr Shannon O’Donnell

While the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are playing out half a world away, a group…

Celebrating Waikato University’s Olympic connections

The University of Waikato is well-represented at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, which runs from…


A different style of coaching pays off for Morgan

According to wakeboarding champion and University of Waikato alumna Morgan Haakma, a great coach can…


Inspiring others is motivation enough for Kristie

By studying what she was interested in, Kristie Baillie developed a genuine interest in people…