Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Horowhenua Māori Scholarship winners revealed

Horowhenua District Council has partnered with Muaūpoko Tribal Authority to create a unique Te Ao Māori initiative using Three Waters Reform stimulus funding. 

The Matauranga Maori Scholarships have been developed to encourage and foster rangatahi of the Horowhenua to study at tertiary level with the requirement that they return home and give back to the region.

“With the changes that are happening with Three Waters Reforms and the Resource Management Act over the coming years it is vital that we invest in our rangatahi to ensure a positive future for the Horowhenua,” Council said in a statement announcing the scholarships.

“Council has allocated some of the funding from the Three Waters stimulus package specifically to support students at a tertiary level to build capacity within Iwi which will ultimately have long term positive benefits for the district.”

This year local Iwi and hapū connected students will attend university with the aim of attaining qualifications in engineering and environmental areas. This will see an eventual return to the district where the students will contribute to the environmental wellbeing and future of the Horowhenua, Council said.

“We recognise the ever-increasing demand and pressure on our iwi partners to participate and contribute towards numerous projects and developments in our area.  This is an excellent opportunity to support iwi and at the same time, create opportunities for rangatahi and support their studies,” said Mayor, Bernie Wanden.

Applications came from the community, whānau, as well as from colleges both within and outside of the district. Candidates and their whānau members met with a panel, which consisted of Mayor Bernie Wanden, Tracey White – Muaūpoko Tribal Authority Board Member and Asli Crawford – Council’s Water and Waste Services Manager. 

Tim Tukapua, Muaūpoko Tribal Authority Board Chair said “this is a great opportunity for our rangatahi and it is reflective of the hard mahi they and their whānau have put in during their schooling years.”

“For our up and coming rangatahi who may not have considered this path, it opens up a whole new world of possibilities in terms of achieving scholarships and university actually being within their reach. To have them go away to university or wānanga and return being proficient in taiao (environmental) studies, will be a huge asset to our people and our community.”

“Our partnership with Horowhenua District Council has enabled this to happen and we look forward to working together to provide our rangatahi with any support they may need”.

The grant criteria set by the panel included meeting the requirements for University or Runanga entrance into the chosen course. Successful candidates had to whakapapa, affiliate to a Horowhenua based Iwi and commit to returning to the district or region at some point, once their studies are complete, to work in this field.

The five successful recipients’ are:

Rangiora Williams 

Amiria McGhie 

Tiaki Hirini 

Mariah Montagnani 

Tikardan Tahiwi-Stowers 

Each recipient will receive a $30,000 scholarship towards their studies. Throughout the duration of their studies, they will be provided with further opportunities by way of ongoing mentorship and project participation (where possible). 

When asked what this scholarship means, recipient Mariah Montagnani said “the opportunity to have access to knowledge, people and support which are all vital to achieving and succeeding through mainstream education. It means that I have the privilege of being able to focus on my studies without the looming thought of debt that most tauira have. I also know I have support from my iwi, the ability to foster Matauranga Māori and the opportunity to contribute to a meaningful kaupapa – and creating potential pathways to long-term environmental change.” 

A working group will be created to enable and encourage contact between the students, Iwi and Council, as a way of keeping connected and to enable the additional tautoko or support while on their journey, Council said.

A ceremony to acknowledge the achievements of these rangatahi as well as the partnership of this new scholarship was held on Sunday.

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