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Māori Battalion’s legacy honoured at celebration of excellen

Hon Hekia Parata

Minister of Education
19 June 2014 Media Statement
Māori Battalion’s legacy honoured at celebration of excellence

Education Minister Hekia Parata has praised the nine outstanding Māori students who have received scholarships to honour the 28th Māori Batallion.

Ms Parata says the Ngārimu VC and 28th Māori Battalion Memorial Scholarship Fund Board has awarded scholarships to students who demonstrate education excellence and embody the Battalion’s characteristics of commitment, service and leadership.

“These traits earned the Battalion an honoured place in New Zealand’s history and we pay tribute to their living legacy by supporting Māori leaders of the future,” says Ms Parata, who chairs the Board.

Since 1948, the Board has supported Māori achievers to succeed in education and contribute as leaders both at home and overseas. The latest recipients have been honoured at a prestigious event at Parliament.

Ms Parata says it is an honour to have His Excellency Lieutenant General The Right Honourable Sir Jerry Matepārae GNZQ, QSO Governor-General of New Zealand and Corporal (Ret) Bill (Willie) Apiata VC as special guests in support of the awards this year.

“Throughout their very distinguished careers, Sir Jerry and Corporal Apiata have displayed exactly the sort of excellence that we are recognising today.”

This year’s scholarship recipients include future medical doctors, lawyers, linguists, philosophers, researchers and an opera singer mentored by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa. Awarded at doctoral, masters and undergraduate levels, the scholarships commemorate Second Lieutenant Te Moananui a Kiwa Ngārimu VC and the 28th Māori Battalion.

The Board also welcomes more than 100 former scholarship recipients to the event. Many were awarded scholarships in the 1960s, 70s and 80s and went on to careers of national and international significance.

Ms Parata says they are now returning the investment made in them, by preparing to form an Alumni Association.

“An Association provides former recipients with an established way to continue the Battalion’s proud legacy of Māori excellence and leadership. In turn, the most recent recipients will benefit from their guidance.

“The Alumni Association will foster a spirit of union among all scholars, provide mentoring opportunities, further the goals of the Fund and strengthen networks among Māori leaders of today and tomorrow,” she says.

The event at Parliament incorporates archival images of the Māori Battalion, war songs of the 1940s and performances by East Coast kapa haka, Te Hokowhitu a Tū.

“To honour the soldiers’ spirit and sacrifice, we must ensure their legacy lives on in future generations, especially among tomorrow’s Māori leaders,” says Ms Parata.

Applications for the next round of Ngārimu VC & 28th (Māori) Battalion Memorial Scholarships open on 1 July 2014 and close on 26 September 2014.

Notes for editors

• You can read profiles on all nine 2013/2014scholarship recipients as well as information about other Fund Board initiatives on the Ministry of Education website www.minedu.govt.nz/ngarimuscholarships

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