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Kiwi genes set tauira up for success

Sir Āpirana Ngata Memorial Scholarship recipient Ange Hura has learnt a lot while working on her PhD, and not just about the genetics of the Northland brown kiwi.

Ange is now putting the finishing touches on a PhD in Conservation Biology with Massey University, after spending five years working on a hapū-led project investigating the genetic whakapapa and conservation of the Northland brown kiwi.

“The hapū had concerns over the wellbeing of kiwi and wanted to take ownership as kaitiaki to ensure kiwi were protected and prospering for many generations to come,” says Ange. “It has been a huge privilege and an honour to be part of the Kiwi Whakapapa project.”

Ange, of Ngāti Kahungunu, Tūwharetoa, Te Roroa and Rongomaiwahine, applied for the Sir Āpirana Ngata Memorial Scholarship as a descendant of WWI Māori veteran, John (Iehu) Henry Hodges, 3rd Māori Contingent.

Ange has received scholarships from the Māori Soldiers Trust throughout her post-graduate study, which included a Master of Science, and says it’s helped to relieve some of the financial burden of her mahi.

The cost of tertiary education can be a barrier for Māori, and scholarships like this are one way to reduce roadblocks – but support for tauira Māori shouldn’t stop there, says Ange.

“I have noticed during my studies that there are areas where the needs of students, particularly those from underrepresented groups, such as Māori and other indigenous communities, are not being met, leading to feelings of being unheard and misunderstood,” says Ange.

“This is a complex issue, with layers of cultural nuance that I have only begun to understand and appreciate through my involvement in the Kiwi Whakapapa project and my many years in the education system, especially at the university level.”

These challenges can make or break person, says Ange, and she’s passionate about building connections and relationships that might provide better support for Māori in tertiary education.

“My goal is to help students in any capacity that I can. Something I wish I had during my academic journey. It can be a long and lonely road as a student, and the journey can be even more complex for students from underrepresented groups.

“I hope to use my experiences and understanding to make a difference in their academic journey so they don't feel so alone and isolated.”

About the Sir Āpirana Ngata Memorial Scholarship

The scholarship was created by the Māori Soldiers Trust Act 1957 to promote higher education of Māori. Funding for the scholarship comes from Hereheretau Station, Wairoa, the major asset of the Māori Soldiers Trust.

The scholarship is administered by the Māori Trustee and Te Tumu Paeroa, on behalf of the Māori Soldiers Trust Committee.

All those of Māori descent that are studying at tertiary level are eligible for the scholarship, with descendants of Māori World War I veterans given priority.

You can find out more about the scholarship here.


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