Each year we work with the Māori Soldiers Trust to offer education scholarships to Māori studying at a tertiary level. Last year, Ange Hura was one of the recipients.
The Sir Āpirana Ngata Memorial Scholarship is funded by Hereheretau Station – a sheep and beef farm in Whakaki, on the east coast of the North Island.
Last year 39 Māori students received one of these scholarships. And in that group, a number of recipients had direct links to the area of the farm. One of that group is Ange Hura.
Choosing a degree
Ange is originally from Hawkes Bay. She grew up in Flaxmere with her mum and grandparents. When she was younger she frequently went back to Mohaka and Mahia to visit whānau living in the area. She also attended Flaxmere College where she was Head Girl and Dux in 2008.
Nearing the end of her time at high school she was making plans to go to university. Her original idea was to study law and forensics. But through the encouragement of a teacher/family friend she eventually settled on studying for a Bachelor of Biomedical Science majoring in Human Genetics. Having not studied certain science subjects at high school, it was a challenging experience, but one she was more than up to.
“Being stubborn and not wanting to tell people I’d quit – I stuck it out and completed my degree with the support of family and some amazing people at uni”.
Following the completion of the degree, the plan was to head overseas with her husband for their OE.
“But a few months into our trip my nan was diagnosed with lung cancer which shook our family to the core. We flew back to New Zealand so I could be closer to my family during this time”.
“(She) was the matriach of our family and losing her put a lot of things into perspective. She’d always wanted us to be the best we could be. So I decided that going back and studying was the best thing I could do".
Returning to study
Ange enrolled in a Masters of Science at Massey University, Palmerston North.
“Genetics has always been an interest of mine. The intricacies of the concepts and the realisation that a single change to your genetic code can send your body into turmoil is captivating!”
Ange’s currently writing her thesis and later this year she starts her PhD investigating the whakapapa of Northland brown kiwi.
“Whakapapa is another branch of genetics looking into lineage, inheritance and genes. The research is to investigate the possibility of inbreeding in these small, isolated populations in the Bay of Islands. This is of major concern for local iwi and hapu in the area, and the Department of Conservation”.
“I hope that what I’m doing and what I continue to do can help others in the future”.
Receiving the Sir Āpirana Ngata Memorial Scholarship last year helped Ange to pursue her studies at a postgraduate level.
“I was fortunate enough to have received a scholarship last year to help with the costs associated with my studies. The scholarship helped to alleviate some of the financial burden associated with studying and I’m very thankful for that” .
“I’m extremely proud to know the scholarship is funded by a farm (near) where my family is from” says Ange.
“It means you work that bit harder knowning you have support from your iwi”.
Applications for the Sir Āpirana Ngata Memorial Scholarship in 2018 are now open. It’s open to all Māori studying at a polytechnic, wānanga, university or other tertiary institution – but preference is given to descendants of Māori who served overseas during World War I.
Download an application form here.
Image 1: Ange outside the wharenui in Mohaka (Waipapa-a-iwi)
Image 2: Ange with her grandparents Angel and Bert Hura.
Image 3: In front of a statue of Gregor Mendel (the creator of the science of Genetics) in Brno, Czech Republic