Uawa Resident Maria Leilua is honoured to receive the Kupe Scholarship for 2019. Having started teacher training to nurture and educate local children, her high achievements as a trainee teacher have not gone unnoticed.
Leilua says, "It is an honour for my families. I am the first of my family to go to university and I am also the first to receive a scholarship like this. I am the one that is usually supporting others in their accomplishments but at this time it’s about me and what I have achieved.
One of 29 Moana-nui-a-Kiwa (Māori and Pacific) students to receive the Scholarship, the $22,000 prize each students will go a long way to help them in their teaching.
Leilua is studies extramurally through Massey University and does most of her assignments online but rarely has anyone to converse with in terms of ideas.
Leilua also says, "One of the major difficulties I have is that it’s only me from my course here on the east coast and I have no one I can work with because I live in Uawa".
The Kupe Scholarship was established in 2018 and is funded by a number of philanthropic donors after seed investment by the McCall MacBain Foundation. The intention of the Scholarship is to encourage and support exceptional postgraduate students.
Associate Minister of Education Kelvin Davis says, "This scholarships is to assist our up and coming Māori and Pasifika teachers to become competent teachers. This scholarship is to also help with ongoing cost while they are studying".
Each recipient will be matched with a leader in their field, to advise, challenge and guide them as they complete their postgraduate study.
Leilua said, "The principal of our school Uawa Area School has helped me and given me guidance. My nannies and aunties have all assisted me".
Leilua is confident that she will graduate with a diploma in teaching at the end of this year and aspires to teach at her local area school.