Scholarship winner says award will help push for bicultural teachers

8:36 pm on 13 October 2015

A winner of a prestigious new scholarship for Māori and Pasifika teaching students says there is a need for more biculturally literate educators.

Thirty TeachNZ Kupe Scholarships have just been awarded to students who will make important contributions to their whanau, hapu, iwi and communities.

Te Arawa student Nikola Patrick said the scholarships acknowledge students who will help bridge the gap between cultures.

She said the curriculum requires educators to be biculturally literate because of the inclusion of the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi

"It actually says in the document that every child in New Zealand has the opportunity to learn te reo Māori and tikanga Māori so with the provision of these scholarships it helps people get into tertiary education without having to worry about the financial side of things."

Ms Patrick is a already a tutor in kapa haka and Te Reo Māori and says children thrive from learning

"They can do the haka and they can learn the poi, and speak a language that is the foundation of our country and they really want to do it, they want to learn and they love to learn so it's a privilege and an honour to be the educator teaching them how to do that."

The student, who is in her second year of studying for a Bachelor of Education at Bethlehem College in Tauranga, said the scholarships are an opportunity for Māori and Pasifika to shine.

The scholarships cover course fees, study allowances and provide professional mentoring and job find assistance following graduation.

Ministry of Education Deputy Secretary, Student Achievement, Dr Graham Stoop said the Ministry is proud to have created the scholarships which celebrate the country's outstanding Māori and Pasifika teaching students.

"Our future teachers will be leading New Zealand's next generation; they deserve our recognition and our ongoing support."