Scholarship recipient finds community support at Otago

HBHS graduate Rawiri Kapa-Hakeney says earning both a University of Otago Māori and Pacific People’s Entrance Scholarship and a Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship, together valued at $15,000, has given him an unexpected opportunity to honour his whanau who have supported him to this point.

“Receiving two scholarships, and a generous amount of money with those, was not what determined my presence at university – even without them, that wouldn’t have been a problem,” says Rawiri who is affiliated with Te Aupori.

“Instead, it gave me the opportunity to pay something back to those who have cared for me all throughout my life – namely my Dad and step-mother who provided me with more than enough foundations to live a rich and fulfilling life pre-university.”

Now several months into the university’s Health Sciences First Year programme, a pre-requisite to medical school, Rawiri has found himself impressed with the sheer knowledge and experience of his lecturers. He is enjoying the Human Body Systems and CELS papers the most so far, for their relevance to his ultimate goal of becoming a doctor.

“It’s a privilege to be around the lecturers and have the opportunity to learn from them.”

While in Dunedin, Rawiri lives at Carrington College, and calls it a “homely retreat” from the intensity of the Otago campus.

Rawiri plays football for Carrington in weekends and plans to join the college futsal team in the second semester. He enjoys the compromise between hard work and relaxation for the students available at the college, he says.

“The staff, especially Head of College, are very selfless and giving, including the House Tutors who provide an enjoyable experience. I have found the academic encouragement from everyone at Carrington invaluable, and the college achieves a good balance of social and academic opportunities.”

Rawiri says the extra support he has received from the university’s Māori Centre has been instrumental in aiding his study.

“The tutorials they offer have been outstanding, and the resources and teaching I’ve received, especially with the access to teaching fellows in the Human Body Systems classes, have been invaluable.”

At Otago, Rawiri says he has found the perfect place for students: “It has a warming glow and a very timeless sense about it and I am very glad about my decision to come and join its ranks.”

Learn more about University of Otago Entrance Scholarships [].

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