PM awards inaugural Forestry Scholarships

Friday 15 Mar 2019

New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern presented Ngā Karahipi Uru Rākau (Te Uru Rākau Forestry Scholarships) to eight outstanding new students at a special forestry scholarship awards ceremony at the University of Canterbury | Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha (UC) on Thursday last week.

“Developing skills, capability and leadership for New Zealand’s forestry sector is a priority for the Government and Te Uru Rākau (Forestry New Zealand). These scholarships are the first step towards an exciting and rewarding career in forestry for eight exceptional individuals who will in turn strengthen the future labour pool in this vital industry,” says Ms Ardern.

Te Uru Rākau developed the scholarships to encourage young and talented individuals into Aotearoa New Zealand’s growing forestry industry. The scholarships are available to Māori and/or female students enrolling in the University of Canterbury’s Bachelor of Forestry Science or Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) in Forest Engineering. Each scholarship recipient gets: NZ$8,000 a year for 4 years (the length of the degree) to help with tuition fees and living costs and a paid internship of between 4 to 10 weeks with an appropriate employer in the forestry sector.

Forestry student and scholarship recipient Robyn Patient (Te Arawa and Ngāi Te Rangi), who attended Kaiapoi High School, was thrilled to be one of the first UC students to receive the Te Uru Rākau Forestry scholarship.

“I was so excited. It was something I absolutely wanted to do and getting the support from MPI [Ministry for Primary Industries] and the University of Canterbury was so relieving. My family and extended whānau were really excited. We told all of my marae and family up in Tauranga and Rotorua and they were so stoked.”

It was a visit to UC that opened her eyes to the possibilities of a career in forestry. “I actually did not know about Forestry [as a discipline] until I attended UC Open Day. I knew I loved Biology, I loved English, and I’m a good writer. I heard about the scholarship and what they do in Forestry from the lecture presentation at Open Day, and I knew it was something I was really going to enjoy,” she says.

“Even in my first three weeks here, I know it’s something I want to continue doing. I made the right choice.” There’s lots of different career avenues in forestry science and engineering, Robyn says. “I’m leaning towards biological research or commercial. I didn’t realise I’d enjoy the commercial aspects so much. It’s something new I learnt about myself in my first few weeks at UC.”

Te Uru Rākau Ngā Karahipi Uru Rākau Awards Ceremony was attended by the Prime Minister, Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, the Minister of Forestry Hon Shane Jones, UC Vice-Chancellor Cheryl de la Rey, UC Chancellor Sue McCormack, Ministry for Primary Industries Director General Ray Smith, and Head of Te Uru Rākau Julie Collins.

For more information on Ngā Karahipi Uru Rākau – Forestry Scholarships click here.

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