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Young leaders awarded Kupe Leadership Scholarships

Fourteen of the nation’s young leaders have been recognised with prestigious postgraduate scholarships to support them in making a meaningful contribution in their chosen fields.

The inaugural Kupe Leadership Scholarships have been awarded to a select group of postgraduate scholars from universities across New Zealand who will receive financial support to the value of $24,100. This will cover fees and accommodation at the University of Auckland, as well as the unique component of a year-long leadership development programme which they will participate in alongside their postgraduate study.

Named after the legendary explorer Kupe, the scholarships are the vision of Canadian philanthropist and Rhodes Scholar John McCall MacBain, who through the McCall MacBain Foundation, has invested millions in people and ideas in order to build a better world. The Foundation has provided $1 million in seed funding to kick-start the initiative through the University of Auckland, with a number of philanthropic donors from around New Zealand stepping up to provide further funding and act as sponsors for individual students.

The scholarships were awarded following a rigorous and competitive selection process where candidates were required to demonstrate evidence of leadership capabilities including drive, determination, a strong service ethic, passion and humility.

To further support them in their leadership work, the 14 recipients have each been paired with a mentor who has been hand-picked for their experience and expertise to offer guidance, support, and challenge them throughout the programme.

The successful scholars come from all walks of life, and represent a range of disciplines from sustainable business and design solutions to public policy and dance therapy. The full list of scholarship recipients follows:

Ane Tonga, Master of Arts (Art History). Mentored by Dr Jenny Harper MNZM.
Audrey Atchinson-Wilding, Master of International Business. Mentored by Rod Oram.
Grace Leehan, Bachelor of Music (Honours). Mentored by Jess Hindin.
Helena Crengle, Postgraduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching. Mentored by Pat Sneddon MNZM.
Jarvis Dams, Master of Information Technology. Mentored by Elisabeth Vaneveld MNZM.
K Dee Ma'ia'i, Bachelor of Arts (Honours). Mentored by Pauline Winter, QSO.
Mackenzie Henderson-Wraight, Master of Dance Movement Therapy. Mentored by Kerry Ann Stanton.
Olivia Soesbergen, Master of Public Policy. Mentored by Minnie Baragwanath MNZM.
Patricia Pillay, Master of Arts (Anthropology). Mentored by Distinguished Professor Dame Anne Salmond FRSNZ.
Rahul Makam, Bachelor of Medical Sciences (Honours). Mentored by Professor Alistair Woodward.
Stephanie Cooper, Bachelor of Science (Honours). Mentored by Associate Professor Dr Siouxsie Wiles MNZM.
Surita Manoa, Master of Architecture. Mentored by Pip Cheshire.
Tamati Rakena, Master of Education. Mentored by Shaun Clarke ONZM.
Tristan Pang, Bachelor of Science (Honours). Mentored by Andrew Patterson.

Sir Peter Gluckman, guest speaker on the evening officially announcing the recipients, issued a challenge to them saying, “Your potential to be leaders, to make a difference, comes at a critical time in our history as a species… leadership will mean ensuring truth prevails, that citizens have access to robust knowledge, that we find ways to address the existential and difficult challenges ahead and get beyond the short-termism that prevails in much current discourse and politics.”

The cohort of Kupe Leadership Scholars started their journey with an orientation weekend at Piritahi Marae on Waiheke Island, which will be followed by a series of leadership development workshops throughout the year.

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