Māori students earn opportunity of a lifetime with overseas scholarships | RNZ News

Scholarships

Five top achieving Māori high school students aim to give back to their people as they venture to some of their dream universities overseas.

Rhiannon Kapa and Rohm Dixon, two of the recipients of the Te Ara a Kupe Beaton Scholarship.
Photo: Supplied

They have been awarded Te Ara a Kupe Beaton Scholarship, which aims to support tauira Māori to gain entrance into the world’s most competitive tertiary education providers.

Each student receives mentoring and education services up to $20,000 to help them gain entrance into their dream course at their dream university – helping them pave the way for more Māori representation within tertiary education on the word stage.

Lytton High head prefect Rhiannon Kapa wants to use the scholarship to become a dermatologist or clinical surgeon. She plans to use the skills she gets in her studies to help provide professional and culturally sufficient healthcare to her home in Te Tairāwhiti.

“The healthcare system is flawed, and it is really hard to see our whānau not get the help they need,” Kapa said.

“I really think the scholarship is going to help me get that qualification so I can come home and give back to my people.”

Lytton High head prefect Rhiannon Kapa
Photo: Supplied

Kapa said winning the scholarship, alongside Mairangi Campbell from Gisborne Boys High School, proved that Māori were “more successful than people think we are”.

Year 13 student Rohm Dixon said receiving the scholarship was “one of his greatest accomplishments”. He wanted to study business commerce in the United States.

Dixon was the third student from Rotorua Boys’ High School to receive the scholarship, following fellow students Blue Simpkins-Jones and Koan Hemana.

It was an honour to carry his whakapapa into receiving the scholarship, he said.

His aim was to become a successful businessman, in the hope of giving back to his community, whether that be in rural Rotorua where he grew up, or all over the world, through the creation of services for students from all backgrounds to improve their financial literacy.

Rotorua Boys’ High Scool year 13 student Rohm Dixon
Photo: Supplied

Te Ara a Kupe Beaton scholarship was founded five years ago under Crimson Education; an organisation providing individualised guidance for high school students to reach their full potential.

For successful applicants, the scholarship program includes extracurricular advising, leadership consulting, and career advice support to help successful students achieve their goals, both short term and long term.

Napier Girls’ High School head prefect Amaia Watson cited her mother as her biggest inspiration, describing her family reaction as “crazy” when the recipients were announced on Zoom last Sunday.

Watson is set to complete a degree in Law and Environmental Science, and wants to bring the knowledge she gains at University back to Hawkes’ Bay to give back to the community she grew up in.

Napier Girls’ High School head prefect Amaia Watson
Photo: Supplied

Throughout her term as head prefect, she felt a responsibility to show young Māori at Napier Girls’ High School the level of achievement she knew they could reach.

“This isn’t out of the ordinary – you can do this too.”

She has championed learning support opportunities such as Tuakana-Teina programme, and has helped to develop the pronounciation of te reo inside the classroom in her final year at school.

The scholarship is awarded annually, with registrations for the 2023 round of applications open now.