For our 150th anniversary scholarships, we wanted a name that both honoured the stories and traditions of te ao Māori and spoke to the immense potential of our target applicants.

Te Kakau a Māui does just that, inspired by the many feats of demi-god Māui, and the unique tool he used to accomplish them. In many of the stories about Māui and his deeds, he was said to possess a kakau, a crafted wooden handle to which he could lash different adze heads. He could change these at will and would select the appropriate head to suit the particular task or challenge immediately in front of him.

Much like Māui’s kakau, these scholarships will provide students with the foundation they need to set out on their tertiary journey. However, it will be up to them to shape what that journey looks like according to their own circumstances and aspirations – to craft it to their own design and use it wisely to create their own success.

Māui was not born into greatness, and instead earned his notoriety through his own grit and determination. He faced many challenges throughout his life, including mistakenly being cast aside by his parents at birth who thought he was stillborn. He overcame each of these obstacles, and with each challenge he learned, and he grew. He earned a reputation for doing the unthinkable, inspiring him to continue challenging the status quo throughout his life. He became known as something of a troublemaker, but today we think of him as one of our greatest changemakers. His deeds were devoted to making the world a better place, and stories of his life continue to be told across Te Moana Nui a Kiwa.

Rationale behind Te Kakau a Māui Scholarships