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Massey scholarship winner happy to be Ngātiwai role model

Media Release 12 March 2014

Massey University scholarship winner happy to be Ngātiwai’s role model

Ngātiwai’s first ever recipient of a three-year Massey University scholarship to study for Bachelor of Natural Sciences degree (BNatSc), Ramon Curtis, says he is comfortable to be a role model for future generations – but it comes with a qualifier.

“I’m more than happy to step up and be a role model for Ngātiwai youth coming through the secondary school system who want to go to university or get a tertiary qualification,” the 25-year-old says.

“But we have to keep this in perspective, it is all well and good to say you’re happy to be a role model, but first you’ve got to deliver and my priority is to make sure that I concentrate and maintain the standards required for the courses on this degree programme.”

Originally from the picturesque Matapouri Bay, Ramon moved with his family to Auckland and attended Primary school, before carrying out his secondary education on the North Shore. Since then he has completed a diploma in Science and Technology at Massey University and says he then thought about what he wanted to do next.

“I saw the degree was being advertised on the university website and I liked what it offered so I enrolled and I was accepted, and at that stage I hadn’t even thought about applying for the scholarship,” he says.

“Then the scholarship opportunity came up and I was encouraged to apply for it by Ngātiwai Trust Board Resource Management unit manager Clive Stone.”

Mr Stone says Ramon fitted the criteria required to secure the scholarship which was first offered in 2013.

“We have a good working relationship with Massey but we wanted a commitment from them and they came up with this offer for our aspiring Rangatahi,” Mr Stone says.

"Massey University’s, Head of NZ Institute of Natural and Mathematical Sciences, Distinguished Professor Gaven Martin, says the university has a vested interest in working with Ngātiwai.

“This isn’t a one-way street, Massey wants a lot of the secondary school graduates from Northland to come to our university because we have a lot to offer and it allows Iwi like Ngātiwai to build the required capability they want and need within their own people,” Professor Martin says.

“We want Ramon to succeed, we want him to enjoy his time learning with us and we want him to go on to use that knowledge and qualifications in service for his Iwi in the long term.”

Ramon says he understands that he is at university to play the long game.

“One day I want to go back to Ngātiwai and give something back to our people by working with the Resource and Environment team,” he says.

“But I’ve got to learn to walk before I start thinking about running. My only priority for the next three years is to keep my head and nose buried in my studies.”

Ramon’s scholarship, worth around $6,000-a-year, will cover his tuition fees and course materials through the degree programme.

Professor Martin says scholarships such as these will continue to be available for good students into the future.

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