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Published: 2017-09-15 10:00:00

They’re four young wāhine passionate about the taiao (environment).

The Hamilton-based University of Waikato students are now also this year’s winners of Waikato Regional Council and Waikato-Tainui Dame Te Atairangikaahu Scholarships.

Lynley St George (21 from Ngāti Porou), Nevada Huaki-Foote (20, Waikato/Ngāti Porou), Tekiteora Rolleston-Gabel (20, Ngāi Tuhoe/Ngāti Kahu/Ngāi Te Rangi) and Ngāpera Keegan (19, Waikato/Maniapoto) received their awards at a ceremony at the university yesterday.

The four are, respectively, studying for Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Environmental Planning/Graduate Diploma, Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science, and Bachelor of Science degrees.

They will receive scholarships worth between $2000 and $2500.

Lynley, who is studying for a Bachelor of Science, has been involved in conservation work, is keen to use her science knowledge to create great environmental outcomes. “I believe that, between a strong grasp of science and a connection to one’s culture, people can interact with their environment in a more positive and effective way.”

Nevada, studying for a Bachelor of Environmental Planning, is aiming for a career in Māori environmental planning. “I want to be able to apply a Māori environmental view to Aotearoa where the knowledge from my ancestors, alongside environmental planning can be incorporated into a modern business environment.”

Tekiteora, doing a double Bachelor of Arts and BSc, has a deep appreciation of the Waikato environment and a strong desire to contribute to the community. “I am aspiring to develop a career in scientific research with a particular focus on its correlation to mātauranga Māori (traditional knowledge).”

Ngāpera studying for a BSc wants to “apply methods to improve New Zealand’s environment as a whole and protect our native flora and fauna so that New Zealand’s beauty remains”.

Waikato-Tainui Te Arataura Chair Rukumoana Schaafhausen said the scholarships reflect tribal aspirations to invest in the education of rangatahi, care for the environment and work collaboratively with regional partners.

“We are so proud to have four wāhine take up the scholarship to pursue science and environmental studies. We will be watching their journey closely.”

The council’s deputy chair Tipa Mahuta, who attended the presentations, said it was great to see the commitment of rangatahi (young people) to the health of the taiao.

“We all need to be environmental kaitiaki (guardians) and it is inspiring to see these wāhine stepping up to take a lead.”

Our picture below shows (left to right) Tipa Mahuta, council chair Alan Livingston, Tekiteora, Lynley, the Māori king’s eldest son Te Ariki Tamaroa Whatumoana Paki, Ngapera, Nevada and university vice-chancellor Professor Neil Quigley.