Seven young wāhine passionate about the taiao (environment), pūtaiao (sciences) and Te ao Māori have received scholarships at a special ceremony in Kirikiriroa (Hamilton) today.
This year’s Kiingitanga Day, hosted by the University of Waikato, saw some outstanding students take away Waikato-Tainui and Waikato Regional Council Dame Te Atairangikaahu Scholarships mō te tau 2018.
They are Ngāpera Keegan (Waikato, Maniapoto, Raukawa, Ngāti Porou), Jazmine Cashmore (Tainui), Angela Grant (Te Arawa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Raukawa), Shakyra Te Aho (Maniapoto), Grace Rihari (Tainui, Ngāpuhi), Tekiteora Rolleston-Gabel (Ngāi Tuhoe, Ngāti Kahu, Ngāi Te Rangi), Nevada Huaki-Foote (Waikato-Tainui, Ngāti Porou).
The seven are studying across a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in environmental sciences, biological sciences, environmental planning, law and professional education. Te reo and tikanga Māori are also being woven in amongst their primary study selections.
Waikato-Tainui Te Arataura chair Rukumoana Schaafhausen said the scholarships reflect tribal aspirations to invest in the education of taiohi to care for the environment and work collaboratively with regional partners.
“We’re very excited to have seven young wāhine take up the scholarship to pursue science and environmental studies. All of them are also demonstrating their commitment to doing so with a Māori lens across all areas of study. We will be watching their journey closely.”
Regional council deputy chair, Tipa Mahuta, said it was great to see the commitment of rangatahi (young people) to the health of the taiao.
“We all need to be environmental kaitiaki (guardians) and it is inspiring to see these wāhine stepping up and taking the lead.”
As well as receiving scholarships worth between $500 and $2000, they will be given the opportunity to learn on the job. This year’s summer student programme will see recipients gaining experience at Waikato Regional Council.
They will be working across areas look at contaminated lands, biodiversity, water quality and lake swimmability, industry infrastructure regulatory work, fresh water fisheries, coastal and democracy services.