Five EIT | Te Pūkenga students (ākonga) have each been awarded a prestigious Ōtātara Trust Scholarship for 2023, each valued at $2500.
The ākonga are Aimey Tahu (Ngāpuhi), Kelsey Stubbs (Ngāpuhi), Patrina Munro (Ngāti Kahungunu ki Te Wairoa), Solomon Bakker-Reynolds (Te Aupōuri, Ngāti Kurī and Whakatōhea) and Hasi Wickramanayake.
Ōtātara Trust Chair Geraldine Travers says it is fantastic to still be able to award deserving ākonga the long-standing scholarship.
“We’re really pleased. The important thing about the scholarships is that it’s not just about the money, it’s about the recognition. It’s actually saying to that person at quite a critical stage in their life, ‘we’ve noticed you. We think you’re worthwhile. We think you’re worth investing in’.”
The Ōtātara Trust is a charitable trust established in 1977 to encourage continuing education and assist EIT to achieve its role as the premier tertiary provider in Hawke’s Bay.
Dr Anne Hiha, who chairs the scholarship subcommittee, says the fact that a number of ākonga did take the time to make applications has been great.
“It’s great that we were able to support them. We love that, over the years, so many people have applied. We find it very, very difficult to say no because we’ve only got a limited number of scholarships.”
It is the second year in a row Aimey has been awarded the Ōtātara Trust Scholarship.
The 27-year-old, who is studying a Bachelor of Applied Science (Biodiversity Management), says she feels both “relief and gratitude to have that opportunity again and continue to pursue my goals”.
“I didn’t think I would be able to get it a second time, but I thought I would try anyway. It feels really good to have it again because it’s just taken a lot of the financial pressure off.”
For 21-year-old Kelsey, who is studying a Bachelor of Business Studies, applying for the scholarship was something outside of her comfort zone.
“It’s just awesome to be a recipient and gain that support. It was the first scholarship that I applied for because I have just been a little too scared to do it, and there’s not a lot around. But I am in a phase of life of putting myself out there and just seeing what life has to give almost so just decided to have a go at it.”
Solomon shares a similar sentiment. The 22-year-old is studying a Bachelor of Creative Practice and says getting the scholarship is a “huge confidence boost”.
The scholarship has enabled him to buy much-needed art supplies.
“I’m so stoked to be able to paint with these oils. It’s a big step up in my practice.”
Once he completes his degree, he plans on pursuing a Master of Professional Creative Practice at EIT | Te Pūkenga.
“I have found the lecturers have been just the most helpful.”
Receiving the Ōtātara Trust Scholarship will enable personal trainer Hasi to complete his Bachelor of Sport & Exercise Science.
“I’m really glad cause it really helps me support my studies.”
Hasi moved to New Zealand in 2014 before embarking on the degree three-years ago.
He has always been passionate about sport, doing everything from tennis to bodybuilding and hopes to become a sports psychologist.
Twenty-year-old Patrina says the scholarship has allowed her to finish her Bachelor of Creative Practice in Screen Production and continue with her Masters.
“I’m really thankful and grateful that my application was successful. I’m really eager to come back to EIT | Te Pūkenga for my Masters next year. And the scholarship will help hugely with funding for that.”