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Connecting through education and language

Education has been one of the most important building blocks of New Zealand society since 1877 when it became mandatory for all Pākehā children to attend school.

The same law didn’t come into effect for Māori children until 1894.

Papawai and Kaikōkirikiri Trusts [PKT] have been providing educational support through scholarships and grants to tangata whenua [people of the land] of Wairarapa since 1943 to ensure children have access to educational resources.

Lauren Perry is a year 13 student who wants to work in the medical field and has applied for several courses nationwide.

Receiving that extra bit of financial support from PKT has been “hugely helpful”, helping her to pay for extra school resources, including a laptop.

To engage with her whakapapa, she took Te Reo classes at UCOL last year with her mum, dad, and uncle, as well as a course on Te Tiriti o Waitangi [Treaty of Waitangi] as part of the prefect team at her school.

The extra resources she has been able to buy through the help of PKT was able to remove a level of stress from her shoulders.

“It’s a huge support to have and it’s a huge helping hand,” she said.

Another recipient of the secondary school scholarship, Matangihau Nuku is making a name for herself across the motu [country] and even abroad.

Nuku has represented Aotearoa New Zealand in the Junior White Sox softball team, and has played in Australia, Japan, and the United States.

PKT awarded Nuku with both a secondary school scholarship and a leadership and personal development scholarship.

She used these to help with her travel costs for softball as well as Te Reo courses so that she could connect with her whakapapa.

“I am proud to be a descendant of Wairarapa and grateful for the opportunities Papawai Kaikōkirikiri have assisted me [with],” she said.

Nuku urged other tangata whenua students across the motu who may need extra support to apply to PKT.

“Do it; it’s our whakapapa too. These resources are for us.”

Chairperson of the finance, risk and audit committee for PKT Nikki Hosking received a secondary school scholarship when she was at college 20 years ago, bringing her skills as a chartered accountant to the trust.

PKT currently holds land at Papawai, Clareville, and Masterton. The income received from the land is given back to the tangata whenua by way of annual scholarships and grants.

    Applications for 2024 Secondary Schools Scholarships are now open and will close on October 31.

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