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Published: 2012-11-14 00:00:00

An aspiring iwi development worker and a prospective specialist te reo Maori teacher are the two winners of this year’s Dame Te Atairangi Kaahu Scholarships.

The awards were presented yesterday to Waikato University students Adrienne Paul and Kiriana (Jennifer) Waru at a ceremony at Waikato Regional Council in Hamilton, which co-funds the scholarships with Waikato-Tainui.

Adrienne, who is from Motiti Island and of Ngati Awa and Tuhoe descent, receives a $2000 scholarship. She is about to complete her law degree. She hopes to assist her people with the development of their Maori land blocks and trusts.

Kiriana, from Taniwha Marae in the Waikato and of Ngati Mahuta descent, receives $1600. In the second year of a Bachelor of Arts degree, she is hoping to qualify as a specialist te reo Maori teacher and work in the performing arts. Kiriana has a particular interest in promoting the connections of the Waikato people to the Waikato River.

Congratulating the pair, council chairman Peter Buckley said the late Maori queen Dame Te Atairangi Kaahu had worked hard for the good of the whole community and she had strongly encouraged people to develop their talents.

He said the scholarships bring the council, Waikato-Tainui and the university together in developing the potential of young leaders.

Waikato-Tainui executive board chairman Tom Roa said that, while the scholarships helped individuals, the wider community would benefit from their work in future.

Regional councillor Paula Southgate – who helped assess scholarship applicants – said Adrienne was a “very worthy” recipient, while Kiriana displayed “amazing love and empathy for your community”.