Kupe Scholarships recognise 30 of New Zealand’s outstanding Māori & Pasifika students

Issue: Volume 94, Number 20

Posted: 9 November 2015
Reference #: 1H9cxt

In 2013/14, the prestigious scholarships for Highly Talented Māori and Pasifika Teacher Trainees were launched. The scholarships aimed to encourage talented, motivated, and high achieving Māori and Pasifika students into a teaching career so that they would also become role models for the next generation of learners.

This year the scholarships were renamed the Kupe Scholarships for Māori and Pasifika High Achievers, to reflect the mana and prestige they bestow on the students who receive them.

The Kupe Scholarships are designed to increase the numbers of teachers who have a Māori and Pasifika heritage, given that the number of Māori and Pasifika students has increased dramatically as a proportion of our total learner population. It’s expected that the increase in the student population will increase for the foreseeable future and we need to ensure that our education workforce responds to this trend.  

The Kupe Scholarships identify up to 30 highly talented Māori and Pasifika students each year, and commits to supporting them on their journey into the education workforce. Candidates must demonstrate a commitment to teaching and show a strong track record of academic success in order to be selected. Kupe Scholars are then invited to become ambassadors for teaching.

The Scholarships cover course fees and pay an annual allowance, provide assistance in finding a teaching role after graduation, as well as access to mentoring throughout tertiary study.

The 2016 Scholarships will open late in 2015 or early 2016.

The taonga of achievement

At a ceremony held in Wellington in October, the successful 2015 Kupe Scholars were presented with the Kupe taonga that is the symbol of the programme. The taonga represent the esteem in which these Scholars are held, as treasured representatives of their respective communities. The taonga also signify the importance of the scholarship programme: to recognise gifted Māori and Pasifika students who have decided to become teachers, to inspire and challenge them to make the difference for our next generation of learners.

Education Minister Hon Hekia Parata was delighted to have the opportunity to personally present the 2015 Scholars with their taonga. 

“These Scholars all have strong track records of academic success and will help raise the status of the teaching profession among young Māori and Pasifika and provide strong role models of success in education.”

Standing tall

One Kupe Scholar is Whangarei’s Regan Reti. Regan is clearly a man who’s not afraid to takes risks in pursuing his chosen ambition. With a wife and family, Regan left behind a career driving a milk truck to pursue his dream to teach in early childhood education. This demonstrates that Regan is unafraid of standing out in a field that is lacking male role models. Less than two per cent of early childhood teaching staff around the Northland region are men.

Regan, speaking to the Northern Advocate news outlet, says he “accidentally” found his way into a role as a student teacher at Raumanga’s Christopher and Robin Early Childhood Centre.

“My daughter used to go [to the centre] and I’d stay for a little while when I’d go to pick her up. Then, while I was still working as a truck driver, I would cover the lunch breaks for the teachers and then they offered me a fulltime job and I was really surprised.”

He’s now been working at the centre for three and a half years, while studying for his Bachelor of Teaching degree, all while refusing to let his family’s access to him suffer. That means he’s commonly working long hours, demonstrating the commitment and strength required to be honoured with a Kupe Scholarship. Having a patient wife helps, says Regan.

“I work on my studies from 10pm-3am because I don’t want to miss out on family time, so I wait till everyone is asleep.”

Regan Reti, of Te Kapotai, Ngapuhi and Ngatiwai descent says that, in a field that has a shortage of male teachers he would love to encourage more men to become involved in early childhood education

“I’d like to motivate more men to get into this field because I see a lot of dads who come in and I know they’d be so good at this job,” Mr Reti said.

Kupe Scholarships: Frequently Asked Questions

How are Kupe Scholarships different from previous scholarships for Māori and Pasifika high achievers?

Kupe Scholarships are new and replace the Māori and Pasifika High Achievers Scholarships that were last available in 2014.

There are some key differences between Kupe Scholarships and the previous Māori and Pasifika High Achievers Scholarships.

New eligibility criteria

If you hope to be selected as a Kupe Scholar, you must provide evidence of your commitment to teaching: you must already be an undergraduate student who has successfully completed at least one full year of an approved teaching qualification, or be a graduate who has enrolled in or started a one year Graduate Diploma/Master of Teaching.

You will need to have and maintain Grade Point Average (GPA) of B+ during your study.

Two-stage selection process

If you are shortlisted, you will be invited to submit a short video presentation related to your teaching and leadership aspirations, the Kupe Scholarship, and your future in general.

A focus on potential

Our selection panel will look for evidence that you:

  • engage with and relate well to children, school students and their families in contemporary contexts, maximising learning through dynamic and innovative modern practices and using smart digital tools and resources
  • have the potential to make a significant and enduring contribution to student achievement and wellbeing throughout your teaching career.

 In addition, if you are chosen to be a Kupe Scholar you will receive:

  • information on mentoring support and how to access this support
  • job-seek assistance through a Ministry-approved teacher recruitment agency once you complete your studies and are ready to enter the teaching workforce.

Note: please ensure you refer to both the application form and guide for more detailed information.

Why do I need to prove my commitment to teaching, and why do I need such a high GPA to be eligible?

A maximum of just 30 students are chosen to be Kupe Scholars. Becoming a Kupe Scholar doesn’t just mean that your potential is recognised and rewarded – it also means that you have our commitment to help you fulfil that potential and make a prominent contribution to the teaching profession.

Because of the prestige associated with becoming a Kupe Scholar, only students who are committed to teaching and have demonstrated a high level of academic achievement and success can be eligible.

What should I do if I have more questions about Kupe Scholarships?

Remember, we’re here to help. If you have any questions, you can call us during business hours on 0800 165 225.

We can also provide you with general information on how to access other scholarships and financial support that may be relevant to you.

Education Workforce(external link)

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero, reporter@edgazette.govt.nz

Posted: 9:15 pm, 9 November 2015

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