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Media Release: 2020 Tūwharetoa STEM scholarships awarded to three inspiring rangatahi
All photos courtesy of Ngati Tuwharetoa Settlement Trust and Campbell Squared

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2020 Tūwharetoa STEM scholarships awarded to three inspiring rangatahi
On behalf of Tūwharetoa Settlement Trust
9 July 2020

Tūwharetoa Settlement Trust (TST) is pleased to announce the three recipients of its annual $10,000 Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) scholarships.

This year’s recipients are Charquera Tobin-Cribb, studying for a Bachelor of Science, Shaun McNeil completing a Master of Science, and Tia Haira, who is pursuing a Master of Biomedical Science.

The STEM Scholarship programme is an important part of TST’s commitment to promoting and advancing the educational aspirations of Tūwharetoa people and focuses on the importance of science and technology to the future success of Ngāti Tūwharetoa and Aotearoa.

In acknowledging the scholarship winners, Deputy Chair of TST, Dame Georgina Te Heuheu said TST was proud to recognise the academic excellence of Tūwharetoa young people through a dedicated STEM scholarship programme.

“In this regard, Charquera, Shaun and Tia have excelled in their studies and more than justified the focus our Trust has placed in this particular area of study,” says Dame Georgina.

“We appreciate the importance of education in the ongoing advancement of our people and our communities, and our STEM scholarships are aimed at those of our whānau seeking to help unlock the potential for wellbeing and growth in the fields of science and technology.

“Through the programme we also hope to encourage more of our young people to seek careers in these disciplines.

“The wide-ranging impacts of current global events and issues like the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and global economic disruption reinforce the need for continued investment and research in these areas, now and into the future” Dame Georgina added.

The Trust has been impressed with the focus on Mātauranga Māori as an integral part of each of the recipients’ study programmes.

The three $10,000 scholarships are open to university students in their third year and above studying in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and with a grade point average score of 6.5 or higher. Applications for the 2021 TST STEM Scholarships will open in November 2020.

In collaboration with Tūwharetoa Māori Trust Board and Ngāti Tūwharetoa Fisheries Charitable Trust TST also contributes $170,000 to a combined fund of $580,000 that supports Tūwharetoa students in their tertiary studies across a wide range of disciplines.

About the recipients

Charquera Tobin-Cribb - Ngāti Te Kohera

charquera cribb tobin

Bachelor of Science (Psychology), University of Auckland

“Ko Taupō te moana, Ko Tongariro te maunga, ko Te Heuheu te tangata.

Continuing my education in psychology will help to enhance the mana of Ngāti Tūwharetoa by allowing me to carry out applied research to understand and improve mental health in our community. It will provide me with the opportunity to gain experience and use these skills to support Māori and their whānau. I am passionate about improving people’s wellbeing and relationships and committed to doing the best I can, both academically, and within our community.

E te Whare o Te Heuheu, ngā mana whakahaere o Tūwharetoa, e kore rā e mutu te mihi ki a koutou. E kore au e ngāro, he kakano ahau, i ruia mai i Rangiātea.”


Shaun McNeil - Ngāti Turangitukua

shaun mcneil

Master of Science (Chemistry), University of Waikato

“I am a Natural Products Chemist. Over the summer I worked as a researcher investigating some of the things going on in our awa and this year my research is being conducted for Tūhoe in Te Urewera. I am investigating and identifying compounds in nature which interact with other living things, I am most interested in investigating those which can help us keep our whenua awa, roto, and moana healthy. I am also looking to nature to find solutions to health issues we are facing. I hope to contribute in the future to Ngāti Tūwharetoa by conducting research to directly benefit the beautiful environment we live in and the health of our people, by incorporating Mātauranga Māori wherever I can.”


Tia Haira - Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Tūhourangi, Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Rangiteaorere

tia haira

Master of Biomedical Sciences, Te Whare Wānanga o te Ūpoko o te Ika a Māui (Victoria University of Wellington)

“The focus of my research is to utilise Mātauranga Māori to scientifically validate the medicinal properties of Kānuka, a native New Zealand plant traditionally used by Māori to heal a variety of medical conditions, particularly skin-related infections and disease. This work not only recognises Māori knowledge but also provides a potential economic stream for hapū and iwi interested in investing in kānuka. Kānuka is a sustainable and renewable resource that can replace non-native pine investments. Kānuka is protective to taiao by increasing biodiversity, improving carbon sequestration, water quality and providing control of erosion, weeds, and pests.

Being one of very few wahine Māori in this field of science, I hope this will guide rangatahi of Tūwharetoa to see that a career in this field is possible if biology is something they enjoy.”




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