2014 NRAIT Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient. Read about Adam's education journey, through the books and through his NRAIT Whakapapa.
Whāia te iti kahurangi ki te tūohu koe me he maunga teitei: aim for the highest cloud so that if you miss it, you will hit a lofty mountain.
Adam is of Ngāti Rārua, Ngāti Koata and Rangitāne descent and a young man going places. He is in his fourth year of studying a conjoint degree programme at Victoria University of Wellington, working towards a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) majoring in Te Reo Māori with a minor in History. As if this wasn’t enough he also works part-time as a commercial cleaner, on-call stocktaker and as a legal assistant for the Wakatu Incorporation.
Adam is motivated to study by his passion for learning and gaining knowledge. “I enjoy the mental challenges posed by studying law and the satisfaction of working hard and passing all the tests, essays and exams.” This trimester he is finishing property law and taking welfare law and the law of the sea towards his LLB. He has completed his Maori studies with most recent papers being on the art of whaikorero and the grammar/structure of the language.
Adam finds rewards in finishing each paper, especially those that were particularly difficult, as each completed paper is another step closer to his degree. “It was really rewarding to get recognised for my efforts and offered to take part in the Honours programme in both law and Te Reo Maori.”
Adam has some advice for some of our owners who want to follow in his footsteps, or for our younger owners, who might be embarking on a similar course of study.
“Always set high standards for yourself and goals that you can achieve both short-term and long-term. For those at school, we don’t realise at the time but there are opportunities to earn lots of money in scholarships at university by doing well in NCEA. I also encourage any owners thinking of tertiary study to apply for as many scholarships as possible; there are many available for Maori students from both universities and iwi organisations. Financial assistance at university can be a huge help as the costs are quite a burden. Finally, it is very hard to choose a subject that is right for you straight out of school; go with your passions and study hard; it is the effort not the intelligence that pays off the most at university.
The world is becoming increasingly dependant on educational qualifications and tertiary study. If we want our people to prosper, this is the path we must pursue. The challenge for NRAIT and its owners is to help our younger owners through this process by giving them the support they need; financial costs are extremely high. Younger owners need to start pushing themselves at a young age to receive the benefits later and be proactive in searching for outside support, particularly from iwi entities such as NRAIT.”
Adam has been awarded the Victoria Excellence scholarship, the NCEA English scholarship, the Wakatu Tertiary scholarship and an NRAIT undergraduate scholarship. “This financial assistance will put a decent dent in my very large student loan.”
Adam’s family has become increasingly isolated from its Māori side and he is the only one who can speak the language. He excelled at Te Reo throughout high school and developed a passion which continues to this day. “I was given a scholarship through the Wakatu Incorporation when I began university in 2011 and was reconnected with my heritage in Te Tau Ihu through various means including alumni events, internship work and the taiohi wananga programme. It was there that I learnt about my whakapapa and my connection to NRAIT. It was such an enlightening experience; I have learnt so much about my culture over the last few years particularly last year when I was heavily involved with Wakatu. The taiohi wananga was awesome; we spent a week out in the Abel Tasman National Park with a large group of young boys aged 10-16 and reconnected with our whenua and learnt about whakapapa, waiata, haka and taiaha.” NRAIT is very proud of its young owners who participate in these wananga; last year there were 16 participants that can whakapapa to NRAIT.
Adam quotes a whakatauki to describe his journey, Ko te piko o te māhuri, ko tērā te tupu o te rākau: the way in which the sapling is nurtured, determines how the tree will grow.
Adam is planning a well deserved holiday at the end of this year before commencing his final year at university and taking a six month course to be admitted to the Bar in the High Court and become a lawyer. He aims to use his BA in Te Reo to gain a role within a Maori organisation.
We wish Adam all the best for his continuing journey and will follow it with interest.