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Scholarship winners say strong whānau connections carry them

The importance of whānau support and the power of this to help get students through their study was a recurring theme when two Wintec health students were awarded the Dame Te Atairangikaahu Scholarship recently.

The importance of whānau support and the power of this to help get students through their study was a recurring theme when two Wintec health students were awarded the Dame Te Atairangikaahu Scholarship recently.

Raea Bainbridge, who is studying nursing and Andrea Joyce a midwifery student, are the 2019 recipients. Heeni Paki, daughter of the late Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu presented them with their scholarships at a special event at Wintec’s Te Kōpū Mānia o Kirikiriroa Marae.

Wintec Director Māori, Hera White says the scholarship, in its 12th year, enables Waikato-Tainui people to consider a career in health and contributes to a more culturally responsive health workforce across the region.

“We chose these students because of their deep love for our people and their passion for Māori and Pasifika health and wellbeing.

“Māori student success is crucial if we are to develop a workforce for our community and reduce health inequities. For our students, this scholarship can be the difference because not only is it an honour to receive, it will also ease the financial challenge of full-time study.”

Scholarship recipient Andrea Joyce brought tears to the eyes of many as she recounted the challenge of achieving her dream to be a midwife while raising a family and meeting the financial demands of study.

“I couldn’t have come this far without the support of my whānau and the community around me,” she said.

“Having this scholarship is going to make all the difference towards my dream of becoming a midwife.”

Raea Bainbridge, an aspiring nurse “with a big heart” stood with his whānau after receiving his scholarship. His proud and active 91-year-old grandmother was there too for her grandson. His mother recounted the ways in which Raea worked to improve the health of those around him, including his beloved Nana in their Tokoroa community.

A past recipient of the scholarship, Awhina Uruamo, now a respiratory research nurse, researcher and personal nurse to the Māori King, shared her story with the students and whānau gathered at Wintec’s marae.

“Getting this scholarship is huge! I want to focus on the support of friends and whānau because they can be so crucial in getting you through.

“Keeping those connections strong when you move through your career is so important,” she said.

“Hold on to your whānau because they keep you strong.”

At the event, Reina Daji, Wintec’s Library Customer Service Assistant and Kaiāwhina for Wintec’s new physiotherapy degree students was awarded the 2019 Hare Puke Māori Leadership Scholarship by Wiremu Puke. He spoke of his late father’s integrity, honesty and the way he honoured manawahine (women) as leaders, including Dame Te Atairangikaahu with whom he shared a great friendship saying: “Integrity is a quality we should aspire to as leaders.”
Reina will utilise the scholarship to continue participating in a Women and Leadership New Zealand programme called Leading Edge.

She is credited with her passion to bring tikanga and te reo Māori into her workplace.
“My love for Māori, my language and my people comes from my late grandmother, and I will continue to be inspired by her qualities,” she said.

“I am inspired by the values of vulnerability and authenticity and the potential these values have to create powerful leaders.”

Wintec established the scholarship in 2008 for staff to recognise and honour its late kaumātua, Dr Hare Puke. Its goal is to enable Māori staff to gain further leadership and management skills.

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