Seven University of Waikato undergraduate students were awarded the Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu Scholarshipas part of Kīngitanga Day celebrations at the University.
The annual scholarship, awarded by the Waikato Regional Council and Waikato-Tainui, supports Māori students to undertake full-time undergraduate study at the University of Waikato with a focus on resource management or environmental protection.
The scholarship was established in 1991 to mark the 25th anniversary of the accession of Māori Queen, Te Arikinui, Dame Te Atairangikaahu, and to pay tribute to her leadership. It also was to support the education of Waikato Māori at the University.
“The students demonstrated a strong connection to their culture and iwi,” said Tim Manukau, Senior Research Fellow and Waikato River Authority Matauranga Co-Director at the University’s Environmental Research Institute, who led the panel. “They are actively involved with their communities, undertaking restoration activities in and around their rivers, lakes and harbours. They are our future kaitiaki.”
The recipients included first and second year students Keana Hepi (Bachelor of Arts in Te Reo Māori and Bachelor of Laws), Kimihia Solomon-Banks (Bachelor of Business majoring in Accounting and Economics) and Tayah-Lea Roberts (Bachelor of Science (Technology) majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology; third years students Ethan Rendall (Bachelor of Business majoring in Accounting and Finance), Maddisyn Hollis (Bachelor of Arts majoring in Te Reo Māori and Māori and Indigenous Studies) and Peata Graham (Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Business); and fourth year student Te Riria Potiki (Bachelor of Environmental Planning in Te Ara Taiao: Māori and the Environment).
“It was appropriate for the scholarships to be awarded on Kīngitanga Day and during the week of mourning for the late Queen Elizabeth II,” said Manukau. “Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu had a close relationship with her and her son King Charles III. The scholarship is about creating legacies, just like these great two women have done.”
The scholarships were awarded on academic merit, commitment to continue studies, and the applicants’ potential, particularly for applicants at first- and second-year levels.
At third and fourth year levels, knowledge and application of the Kīngitanga, including the poukai and koroneihana, were also considered.
Community involvement - particularly with environmental enhancement activities in the Waikato - was also part of the selection criteria, along with relevance of studies, particularly towards those studying resource management or environmental topics.
Eligible applicants had to have whakapapa or a family connection to land within the Waikato Regional Council boundaries, which are largely aligned with the ancestral lands of Tainui waka.
They also had to be enrolled in full-time undergraduate study at the University, and be a New Zealand citizen or resident of Māori descent. A connection of taiao (the environment) and Kīngitanga were also a key part of the scholarship.
First and second year recipients received up to $2,300, third year students received up to $3,300 and the fourth year student received up to $4,400 to go towards the costs of their study.
The Environmental Research Institute at the University of Waikato also provided co-funding for the scholarship this year to acknowledge the environmental restoration extra curricular work of the students and to support the Mātauranga Wai Project it has with the Waikato River Authority. The objectives of the project is to promote the use of mātauranga Māori and to nurture and develop future kaitiaki to help restore and protect our waterways. The additional funding this year allowed more applicants to receive a scholarship.