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Future leader awarded prestigious Robertson Scholarship

Universities New Zealand | Media release

28 March 2019

An exceptional young man who aims to become the chief economic adviser at Treasury has been awarded the prestigious Robertson Scholarship to study in the US.

Shine Wu, aged 18 from Tawa (Wellington), will take up his scholarship to study at Duke University, a leading private university in Durham, North Carolina.

“The reason the Treasury is so appealing to me is that it directly impacts the Government’s economic policy,” explains Shine. “The Treasury epitomises what economics means to me: a mechanism for making positive societal change. It gives me a way to utilise the strengths that I have in mathematics and analytical thinking to create the difference I’d like to see in the world.”

The Robertson Scholars Leadership Program was established by American philanthropist Julian Robertson, and funds young leaders each year from around the world, including New Zealand. The Program is valued at about NZ$100k per year for up to four years, and covers the scholar’s study, living and travel costs. Scholars also participate in summer internships, research or international community projects.

Shine attended Newlands College where he was Dux in 2017 and 2018 and Head Boy in 2018. A gifted scholar, Shine achieved 12 Scholarships awards over three years, and could have left school at the end of Year 12 but chose to return to give back to the school community. While still at school, Shine studied Stage 2 Economics and Mathematics at Victoria University of Wellington, receiving A+ passes.

He made outstanding contributions as a member of the New Zealand Olympiad Squad of 2017 and 2018, as a high school Mathswell entrant and trainer, in the Casio Victoria University Senior Mathematics Competition and as a member of the Wellington Debating Team.

A key legacy Shine leaves at Newlands College is his work as a UN High School Ambassador, running three full-day Model UN events for junior and senior students. He also left his mark as a debating coach and adjudicator, as a Wellington City Youth Councillor, and in his work as the licensee and producer of TEDxYouth@TeAro 2018, which he ran to give opportunities for Wellington youth to voice their opinions, network, and gain inspiration from their peers.

Shine was also selected by MP Brett Hudson as a Youth MP to participate in the triennial Youth Parliament in 2019. His sporting interests include badminton and tennis, in both of which he was a school and regional representative.

John Taylor, Chair of the Robertson Scholarship Selection Committee says, “Shine came across as a very talented and balanced all-rounder, with strong leadership instincts and communication skills which will enable him to give a lot to, and to gain a lot from, the Robertson Scholarship Leadership Program.”

In New Zealand, applications for the Robertson Scholarship are administered by Universities New Zealand. More information on the scholarship can be found at


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