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Trust Administers $185,000 In Scholarships

Media Release November 2008

Trust Administers $185,000 In Scholarships

Thirty-seven Waikato tertiary students are set to benefit, to the tune of $5,000 each, from a generous donation from the charitable trust set up by the late Waikato farmer David Johnstone. Guardian Trust, which manages the trust bearing Mr Johnstone’s name and is administering this $185,000 distribution, is carrying out his wishes in bestowing the scholarships to students about to embark on qualifications at either Waikato University (for those pursuing a science or teaching degree) or Waikato Institute of Technology (any field of study).

The process of selecting the 37 recipients began in August, when Guardian Trust invited secondary schools in the Waikato area to nominate eligible students for consideration. Now worth more than $6 million, the trust provides annual scholarships to secondary school students beginning their tertiary education at either of the two major tertiary institutions in the region.

Mr Johnstone was a well-known farming identity in the Waikato, who was born in 1910 into one of the area’s strongest and oldest pioneering and farming families. One of seven children, he left school at an early age to run the family farm after his father drowned while crossing the flooded Waipa River. Many years of hard work – and trial and error – made him a success in his field, but he harboured a lifelong wish to have had a better education.

His answer was to form the David Johnstone Charitable Trust and make one of its principal objectives to help young people expand their knowledge in the agricultural fields.

Guardian Trust Hamilton Branch Manager Shane Pearce said Guardian Trust was pleased to be involved in distributing the donation to the worthy recipients. “Mr Johnstone’s hope was that his trust would not only assist the students it directly funded, but in the long term boost New Zealand agriculture and the whole economy. I have no doubt it will have this effect, and it is a marvellous legacy of which the community should be very proud.”

Mr Johnstone was ‘man-powered’ out of the Army in 1940, in a practice whereby the most able men – those considered to be of a calibre that the community could not do without – were held back from service in World War II.

At the age of 62 he sold his immediate family’s farm in Whatawhata to his nephews and took on Orini Downs, a 1,000-hectare farm at Orini. He also developed a hotel on Norfolk Island, and was a founding member and benefactor to the National Fieldays.


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