To help ease the financial burden of study, Jay received a Sir Apirana Ngata Scholarship from the Māori Soldiers Trust. The trust reserves some of their land profits to fund the scholarships, and contribute to the education of many aspiring Māori.
“It is so important that Māori invest in Māori and develop our skill base,” says Jay. “The whakaaro (idea) of my tūpuna has empowered me personally but, more importantly; it reminds me to tautoko (support) others too.”
Jay, who has spent the last nine years leading weekly youth groups in outdoor activities and life skills, decided to study a Bachelor of Applied Social Science (Counselling).
He became President of Wintec’s Student Association in 2011, and is currently looking at ways to increase the success of Māori in study. “Our recent hui discussed ways to integrate the institution, student and whānau. Research shows that a more integrated whānau life and study life leads to higher completion rates for Māori.”
“Study encourages you to look at what your identity really is, and I’ve been able to form a clearer picture of what it is I value,” says Jay. “I’ve developed a greater passion to help Māori; to make a positive difference.”
As Jay approaches the end of his Bachelor of Applied Social Science (Counselling), he has already received an invitation to work in Australia, and offers to work in advisory positions in Waikato schools and Waikato health.
The Māori Soldiers Trust
In 1922 the Māori Soldiers Trust formed Hereheretau Station (a large farm near Wairoa). The trust uses profit from the farm to fund the Sir Apirana Ngata Scholarships. Te Tumu Paeroa, the new Māori Trustee, administers both Hereheretau Station and the Sir Apirana Ngata Scholarship on behalf of the Māori Soldiers Trust.
The scholarship is available to all Māori studying at a tertiary institution, with preference given to descendants of First World War veterans. Jay’s koro is First World War veteran Toby Rakeipoho Bennett..