The second annual Rose Hellaby Awards – a fund established by the late Rose Hellaby to celebrate and support Māori education – honoured 112 students with an education grant at an event in Auckland last week.
This year’s top two scholarship recipients are Kelly Ratana and Hannah Leckie, both of whom are Masters students at Hawai’i Pacific University and Oxford University respectively.
Ratana, 26, of Ngati Tuwharetoa and Ngati Rangiwewehi descent, is using her $30,000 scholarship to pursue full-time study in a Masters degree in marine science, majoring in marine science and systems ecology.
She says while she is certain she would be pursuing higher education without the scholarship, it has given her invaluable international experience which will have a positive effect on her community when she returns to New Zealand.
“Although scholarships like this may seem to affect only one person, the far-reaching effects on our Māori communities are immeasurable.
“Not only do they place responsibility on recipients to use what we have learned to benefit Māori society, but they uplift and inspire our rangatahi (youth) and instil a sense of pride in our whānau, hapū and iwi. Success breeds success.”
Ratana plans to use the experience and knowledge gained from her postgraduate studies to help reconcile the differences between the Māori community and scientists when it comes to water resources.
“There is often conflict between scientists and iwi Māori, stemming from the differences in the way we view ourselves within the natural world.
“This often overshadows the common goal of protection and preservation for our tamariki (children). I hope to bridge this gap through my work as a Māori scientist who is able to see and communicate the importance of both perspectives.”
The charitable trust, for which Guardian Trust is sole trustee and investment manager, has distributed more than $3.3millionvia the Māori Education Trust to nearly 5,000 Māori students since its establishment in 1969. The Rose Hellaby Postgraduate Māori Scholarships were formally created in 2010.