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Promising future ahead for 168 scholarship winners

27 November 2023

For a second year, Te Kakau a Māui scholarships continue to celebrate the diverse talents and aspirations of future young leaders from across Te Waipounamu South Island.


Nova Taukamo accepts her Te Kakau a Māui Scholarship from Kaylene Sampson (UC’s Kaihautū Angitu Ako | Programme Director – Learner Success) at Te Puna Wai o Waipapa awards evening in November.


As part of the 150th anniversary celebrations, Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha | University of Canterbury (UC) launched Te Kakau a Māui scholarships for 2023 and 2024, aimed at making tertiary education equitable and accessible and to inspire students who may not have previously considered university as an option.

The scholarship covers undergraduate course fees for a new cohort of 168 first year ākonga (students) from around Te Waipounamu South Island, each with their own diverse background and aspirations for the future.

SDG 4 Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 - Quality Education

Nova Taukamo, from Te Puna Wai o Waipapa | Hagley College, is among the exceptional individuals receiving the scholarship. Taukamo is studying a Bachelor of Science with a major in Psychology, and a minor in Sport Coaching and te reo Māori.

Taukamo and her brother (also a recipient of Te Kakau a Māui in 2023), will be the first generation in their family to achieve tertiary education.

“Mum and Dad didn’t go to university, but for me this isn't just about being the first; it's about making sure I'm not the last. It's about setting a path for those who come after me," she explains.

With a clear passion for learning and a desire to get more young women involved in sports, she has her eyes set on becoming a sports psychologist.

“I’m so grateful to be able to study without the worry of a student loan at the end of it. I’ll be able to focus on my career, my family. It’s setting me up for the future,” she says.

At its core, Te Kakau a Māui isn't just a scholarship; it’s a promise of opportunity and support for individuals from diverse backgrounds. This commitment to diversity deeply resonates within Te Puna Wai o Waipapa, whose mission is ‘lifelong learning that is accessible to all’.

“Every single one of the scholarship recipients from Te Puna Wai o Waipapa comes from unique backgrounds. There’s not one particular type of person, and our students loved the fact that this was a scholarship that any one of them could apply for,” explains Emma Lumb, Tumu Ara Whare Wānanga Tertiary Pathways Manager at Te Puna Wai o Waipapa.

The additional pillars of the programme have also provided Te Puna Wai o Waipapa with reassurance that these students will thrive.

“What sets this scholarship apart is the mentoring and enrichment activities that comes with it. These students are embraced within a support system, setting them on a path not just for academic success but for personal and holistic growth as well,” adds Emma.

The 2023 and 2024 Te Kakau a Māui scholarships were offered as part of UC’s 150th anniversary celebrations, covering undergraduate course fees and available to students from lower decile* schools around Te Waipounamu South Island.

Will you donate and create more opportunities for students like Nova? Your support matters! By donating to scholarships at UC, you can help break down barriers to tertiary education, empowering students with the tools they need to build a better future. Join us in making a difference and donate today.

*A school’s decile measures the extent to which the school’s students live in low socio-economic or poorer communities. For more information on the decile system click here.

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