Every year we work with the Māori Soldiers Trust to provide scholarships to Māori students studying at tertiary level. Last year, Meihana Douglas was one of those recipients.

Meihana Douglas

Connection to the land

Hereheretau Station is a sheep and beef farm in Whakaki, a small town on the east coast of the North Island. Some of the profits from this farm go towards the annual Sir Āpirana Ngata Memorial Scholarship.

Meihana Douglas was one of the 39 students to receive a Sir Āpirana Ngata Scholarship in 2017. Scholarship recipient's whakapapa to areas all across New Zealand. But for Meihana, receiving the scholarship had extra significance thanks to his ties to the region.

“My whānau are the Christy’s from Nuhaka” says Meihana – Nukaha being only a few kilometres from Whakaki.

“They had a road named after them – Christy Lane – across the road from Nuhaka Chapel!”

Meihana also grew up in nearby Wairoa, attending Wairoa College. And his parents and younger siblings still live in the area.

Aim to improve Māori health

Meihana Douglas 02In 2016 Meihana completed his Bachelor of Science majoring in Psychology at the University of Auckland. And last year he started his Masters in Health Psychology.

Health Psychology is a field that helps those with cancer, chronic illness, stress and many other health related problems.

"I'm doing my Masters thesis on perceptions and experiences of Māori with gout. I became interested in this subject when I found out what health psychology entailed, as well as the work that a health psychologist does."

Meihana is hoping his field of study will lead to improved health outcomes for Māori.

"My goal for the future is to help improve Māori health and as a health psychologist I believe I can achieve that".

The scholarship

Meihana“Having the scholarship funded by Hereheretau Station is really nice. To feel like you have that support from home when you’re away studying is really comforting and just a nice feeling. It drives you more to want to succeed”.

“Receiving this scholarship was extremely helpful for me. Doing a Masters is very time consuming and leaves little time for a part-time job. So receiving this scholarship took a lot of financial pressure off and I was able to focus on my studies”.

Promoting higher education for Māori

The Sir Āpirana Ngata Memorial Scholarship was created in 1957 to promote higher education amongst Māori. Te Tumu Paeroa Registry Manager Lorna Goodwin helps to manage the scholarship and can see the value it can bring for Māori.

Lorna says “it’s important to us that we help promote higher education and this scholarship is one way we can do that. It’s great to see so many talented Māori are seeking out a tertiary education. And I’d encourage all Māori studying at tertiary level to apply for this scholarship”.

Applications for the Sir Āpirana Ngata Memorial Scholarship in 2018 close on 1 May. It's open to all Māori studying at a polytechnic, wānanga, university or other tertiary institution.

Download an application form here.

- Maika Bennett