Two Te Wānanga o Aotearoa tauira are among 19 recipients of a nationwide scholarship which will see their course fees paid along with a $15,000 study allowance, professional mentoring, and assistance with finding a job.
Lanne Wade-Jensen and Jane Caffery received the Kupe scholarships last week. The prestigious scholarships recognise highly accomplished Māori and Pacific students and supports them to complete their teaching qualification and gain further success teaching in the early childhood, primary, and secondary teaching sectors.
Each year 30 Kupe Scholarships are awarded to students based on strong academic success and demonstrable leadership experience in their respective whānau, communities, and iwi.
Jane – Waikato-Tainui, Tainui, Ngāpuhi - holds a Bachelor in Social Work degree from TWoA and is currently completing two masters degrees, a masters of Teaching and Learning at the University of Waikato and He Waka Hiringa, master of Applied Indigenous Knowledge, at TWoA.
She is also a qualified personal trainer and founded a clothing bank which provides essential clothing and necessities to local families.
Jane says the scholarship will be a huge help and allow her to concentrate on her studies.
“It means that I am able to pursue my goals and my passion,” she says.
“I’m a second chance learner and the wānanga has a learning style that suits me. It is about supporting, acknowledging and recognising that this is the way our people understand information.”
She says the confidence to take on two masters degrees came from the inspiration she received at TWoA and her strong faith.
“It’s my faith which enables me to do a double-masters,” she says.
“The wānanga put Māori in front of me who had degrees, who had masters, who had PhDs. That gave me hope. For me, when I talk about the philosophy of the wānanga, of transformation through education, that is me. I truly believe that God has placed me in front of Māori so they can see that all things are possible.”
Jane says TWoA has shown her that education should have an emphasis on the importance of being allowed to be Maori and to succeed as Maori rather than trying to fit into the dominant culture.
And that’s a kaupapa she intends staying true to as she continues studying towards her PhD.
Lanne - Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Tuhourangi, Tūhoe – is currently studying towards a Bachelor of Education (Primary) with TWoA in Rotorua and previously worked as Literacy Support Worker at Western Heights High Akoranga Unit and junior mainstream classes in Rotorua.
She says while the financial side of the scholarship is hugely beneficial, it’s the mentoring and job security which she most values.
“As a single mama of four, the putea is wonderful as it pays my fees, but I didn’t realise everything that it entailed, including the mentoring and the support with employment when I finish my teaching degree. That’s huge for us as a whanau in terms of future security,” she says.
"I am passionate about Māori education, in particular for our Māori boys in mainstream schools, and it is the strengthening of whakawhanaungatanga that I believe is the key to their educational success. The framework of TWoA aligns with my own beliefs and value systems and therefore has allowed me to be me as an individual, as a Māori wahine, and a future educator."