A former dux of Whangarei Girls' High School who is now studying communications at Waikato University says it's a real honour to be selected as a Rhodes scholar for 2012.
Briar Thompson, 21, of Ngapuhi descent, is one of only three New Zealanders to win the scholarship for postgraduate study at Oxford University in England.
She plans to spend the first year doing a master's degree about the forced migration of people living in Pacific countries.
Ms Thompson says it's a huge issue, highlighted by the recent water shortages on Kiribati and Tuvalu, which are threatening the ability of residents to stay on the islands.
Waikato University associate professor Shiv Ganesh says Ms Thompson is one of the most outstanding students he has taught at university level in the past 17 years, in New Zealand and the United States.