Maori Battalion inspiration for Maori scholars

  • Pita Sharples
Education

What the Maori Battalion achieved in battle, their mokopuna are emulating in classrooms, laboratories and lecture halls and marae all over New Zealand, according to Associate Education Minister Dr Pita Sharples.

Speaking at the presentation of the Ngarimu VC and 28 (Maori) Battalion Memorial Scholarship Awards in Parliament today, Dr Sharples said the scholarship recipients, like their forebears, brought honour to the people.

"These recipients stand out for the qualities that epitomise the Māori Battalion.  They can demonstrate strong knowledge and understanding of te reo Māori me ona tikanga.  They are pursuing the challenge of new ideas or discovering new fields. And they demonstrate mana, perseverance and courage," said Dr Sharples.

The scholarship fund was established in 1945 to commemorate the bravery of Second Lieutenant Moana Nui a Kiwa Ngarimu VC, and the service of Maori soldiers during World War Two.

"Second Lieutenant Ngārimu never made it home to Ruatoria," said Dr Sharples. "But such was the regard for his deeds that more than 7,000 people attended the hui where his parents were presented with his posthumous Victoria Cross.

The scholarship's original focus was on secondary education, switching to tertiary studies in the 1970s. In 2007, the scholarships were broadened to cover a wider range of purposes from academic studies to leadership scholarships for enterprising, innovative and influential people, "to capture and reflect the qualities, characteristics and attributes of the soldiers of the Māori Battalion more strongly, and to place more emphasis on the value that recipients can contribute to their people," said Dr Sharples.

From 57 strong applicants this year, eight scholars were selected, six of whom were students at kaupapa Maori schools.

"Live in celebration of your identity, language and culture," Dr Sharples told them.  "Live knowing you can achieve what you set your heart on.  Your ability and determination got you here today. Your whānau supported you to follow your path and succeed.  I wish you well."

2010 Scholarship Recipient Profiles

Undergraduate

Sarah-Jane Thompson-Lester

Sarah is an enthusiastic, vibrant Ngāi Tahu descendant currently doing a double degree in Medicine and Surgery at the University of Otago.  She is in her fifth year of a six year degree, finishing in 2011. She speaks te reo Māori, is heavily involved in the Māori Medical Students' Association and is currently a Lifeguard at the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre.  Sarah has been involved in the Wellington Youth Project, acted as a youth advisor on the Unicef Board and attended the United Nations Indigenous People's Forum.  She hopes through her chosen speciality she can "give back to her hapū and be involved in health promotions, education and support within the local Māori community".

Roimata-o-te-Ora Papuni-IIles

Roimata has all the attributes of a future leader of her Ngāti Porou iwi.  She is in her final year of a six year honours programme studying towards a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws.  She is a fluent speaker of te reo, is actively involved in the Māori law community and has mentored other young Māori students at Auckland University.  She takes every opportunity to encourage others to pursue and persist with tertiary education particularly members of her whānau and hapū.  She hopes to "gain experience in law and commercial development so that she can use these skills and apply them at home within Ngāti Porou and help build and maintain a sustainable future for her iwi".

David Jones

David is currently studying towards a Bachelor of Arts in Law and Te Reo Māori at Victoria University and is in his final year of a five year degree.  He is of Rongowhakaata and Ngāti Kahungunu descent, a fluent speaker of te reo Māori and has previously tutored in Māori Arts at Te Kura o Manutuke and Toi Whakaari.  David has also been an ambassador for the Ship for World Youth Programme and has represented his iwi locally at the Young Māori Leaders Conference.   David would like to return home to help with Treaty claims and later work on international issues and indigenous intellectual property through the United Nations.

Masters

Rutene Gabel

Rutene is currently a Master of Arts student at Waikato University and expects to complete his studies in 2011.  He is of Ngāti Kahu descent and te reo Māori is his first language. Rutene has a strong commitment to waka ama and has co-founded a waka ama club in Pewhairangi.  He uses the concept of waka to work alongside young offenders, through Ngāpuhi Social Services and build their knowledge of te reo Māori me ōna tikanga.  Rutene hopes, through his Masters thesis, to revive and share the writings of his tipuna, Hare Hongi, potentially a valuable resource for the students and schools of Te Taitokerau.

Robyn Rauna

Robyn is in the final year of her Master of Business Administration at Waikato University.  She is of Rongowhakaata, Ngāi Tāmanuhiri, Te Aitanga-ā-Māhaki, Kahungunu ki Te Wairoa and Te Whakatohea descent, speaks te reo Māori and completed a Bachelor of Laws in 1993 followed by her admission to the bar.   She is involved in a multitude of projects and events within her iwi, including co-ordinating the 100 year celebrations of Takipu Marae, initiating youth health projects through social networking technologies and recently organised the Wi Pere whānau reunion with almost 1,500 attendees.  Robyn's studies have focussed on areas that will benefit her iwi and she intends on writing her thesis on the behaviours, attributes and practices of emerging Māori leaders charged with managing collectively owned tribal assets.

Doctoral

Ēnoka Murphy

Ēnoka is currently studying in his second year of a Doctor of Philosophy in Māori, History, Cultural Studies and Heritage at the University of Waikato and expects to finish in 2013.  He is Ngāti Manawa, a fluent speaker of te reo Māori and currently lectures at the University of Waikato and teaches night language classes.  Ēnoka has been a Kōhanga Reo and Kura Kaupapa kaiako, judged Manu Kōrero and kapa haka competitions, conducts karakia for various whānau events and has future aspirations of becoming a priest.  His study will focus on the tradition of tangihanga during the 1800 - 1900's and the impact that the arrival of missionaries and Pakehā have had on current practice.

Manakura

Cain Kerehoma

Cain is of Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Toa and Muaupoko descent and is a fluent speaker of te reo Māori.  He completed a Master of Laws with First Class Honours in 2007 and was a spokesman and student mentor for Māori during this time.  Cain has volunteered for Community Law Centres and within the Kapiti community has set up a Māori language class and kapa haka group, is a guardian for the Community Health group and Kōhanga Reo chairman.  His main focus is to establish a marae in Paraparaumu.  He hopes to set up a Puna Kōhungahunga, Kura, Wānanga, Whare Hauora and papakainga and believes this scholarship will help with the initial planning and scoping of this project.

Kahurangi Waititi

Kahurangi is of Te Whānau-ā-Apanui, Ngāti Porou and Ngāi Tahu descent and a fluent speaker of te reo Māori.  She completed a Master of Arts in 2007, majoring in Screen and Media and her current focus is to make documentaries that educate, inform, challenge and entertain people on Te Ao Māori. In between her studies she has also played competitive netball at a national level.  Kahurangi plans to start her own production company and will ensure that the filming of events is done in a respectful way.  Her first documentary will be about her father, Major Hone Waititi and she would also like to set up a Te Whānau-ā-Apanui archive to include kōrero of kaumatua through her interviews or documentaries.  Kahurangi is also interested in looking at other indigenous documentaries being done in Canada and Hawai'i.

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Ngarimu VC and 28 (Maori) Battalion Memorial Scholarship Trust Board Members

Chairperson

Hon Anne Tolley

Minister of Education

Minister of Māori Affairs

Hon Dr Pita R Sharples

Tamaki Makaurau MP

Deputy Chairperson

Karen Sewell

Secretary for Education

Members of Parliament for Maori electorates

Hon Parekura Horomia Ikaroa Rawhiti

Te Ururoa Flavell Waiariki

Hon Nanaia Mahuta Hauraki-Waikato

Hon Tariana Turia Te Tai Hauāuru

Hone Harawira Te Tai Tokerau

Rahui Katene Te Tai Tonga

Ex-Armed Forces Representatives

Wikitoria Wright

Major John Waititi

Maruhaeremuri Stirling

Ngārimu Whānau Representative

Sir Wira Gardiner

Ex-scholarship Recipient

Atareta Poananga

Non-Māori Representatives

Marian Innes

Dame Barbara Goodman