Discovery Scholarship Recipients - 2020 » The MacDiarmid Institute
Discovery Scholarship Recipients - 2020

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Discovery Scholarship Recipients - 2020

Jarrod Broughton – Te Kainga Rua Award recipient at the University of Waikato

Jarrod is a descendant from the iwi of Pakakohi. Jarrod has been away from tertiary level studies for several years, including time spent in Australia. After considering what to do with his future and whether to go into full time work in the Forestry sector, he decided he wanted to diversify his skill set and improve his future job prospects and is now studying towards a BSc (Hons) in Computer Science. Jarrod is really enjoying being back at university and is enjoying the content of his lectures.

He is currently taking first year Calculus as well as he’s never really had the opportunity before. Jarrod is a keen reader of science fiction and plans to tune into the fortnightly episodes of 'Materials: Fact or Fiction' on RNZ Nights - the MacDiarmid Institute's collaboration with RNZ.

Rachel Grant – Te Taumata Award recipient at Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology

Rachel Grant SCUBA diving at Tuhua IslandRachel’s whakapapa hails from Ngāti Hauā, an iwi in East Waikato. Rachel is studying towards a Diploma in Environmental Management with a focus on the Marine environment. She is really enjoying the hands-on experience and field trips involved with her studies, and the opportunity to share experiences with people in her class.

Rachel was encouraged to apply for the Discovery Scholarship programme as she wanted to work alongside like-minded people already doing a lot of what she wanted to do and working towards similar goals. Rachel provided a paragraph summarising her goals which we've included here:

The goal I’m striving towards is to become a Kaitiaki o te Moana- a guardian of the sea. I wish to share with others how I view the ocean, to inspire people about the hidden wonders. The big blue provides us with every second breath we take, with Kai and exponential happiness, it teaches us respect and allows us an escape.

It is of the utmost importance that we pass this mindset on to our tamariki, as passed on from those who stood before us. As this year unfolds, I get a deeper in-sight on how delicately interconnected everything is. We are not removed from this. Humans are inter-connected with the ocean, land and sky alike. Just as the Tuis, sharks and blooming Kowhai trees. We must stand strong beside them, for them. This is what I wish to pass on, through korero, experience, being out in the field and the look in my eyes after being in the presence of an ataahua creature. The ocean relies on us. WE rely on the ocean.

The goal I’m striving towards is to become a Kaitiaki o te Moana- a guardian of the sea. I wish to share with others how I view the ocean, to inspire people about the hidden wonders.

Rachel Grant Te Taumata Award Recipient Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology

Nicky Hambrook – Te Kainga Rua Award recipient at Massey University

Ko Tākitimu, ko Hananui kā mauka
Ko Aparima te awa
Ko Tākitimu te waka
Ko Kāi Tahu te iwi
Ko Ōraka Aparima te hapū
Ko Takutai o te Tītī te marae
Nō Waihōpai ahau
Ko Aorangi tōku kāika
Ko Nicky Hambrook tōku ikoa.

Nicky was born and raised in Invercargill, but moved up north a few years ago and is now based in Feilding while she studies at Massey University. After seeing people in her life become ill over the years, and participating in genomic studies herself, Nicky decided to get into science herself to help work on research into finding answers to these problems by beginning a Bachelor of Science focussing on genetics, later adding in biochemistry as well. She is now in her second year of studies and is loving the structure of the classes and how much smaller they are.

Looking to the future, she hopes to pursue research that will improve the quality of life and help people, especially Māori. After attending a conference regarding indigenous peoples of the world, Nicky's desire to work with indigenous people was firmly cemented. She wants to learn to be a person who is able to be a bridge between both worlds, te ao Māori and research science. She hopes to be able to make connections with people doing indigenous work and looks forward to the possibility of mentorship especially from Māori in the field of science.

Tyla Hill-Moana – Te Mātauranga Pūtaiao Award recipient at Victoria University of Wellington

Tyla Hill and her father v4Tyla’s heritage traces back to the iwi of Tainui and Rongowhakataa. She is from the Waikato, but has been in Wellington for about five years, having completed her undergraduate studies here; she has also previously worked as an intern with the Ministry for the Environment.

Tyla is now studying towards her Master of Marine Conservation degree, but has an eye on the future and what she’ll move on to once her studies are complete next year.

Tyla is looking forward to connecting with people and getting out into the world in general, and hopes to make connections with people and organisations that will help her use her degree to its full potential.

Sydnee Koia – Piki Ake Award recipient at the University of Canterbury

Ko te whakapapa a tēnei kaiwhiwhi te Piki Ake award a Sydnee Koia. He uri a ia nō Ngāti Porou,
Tūhoe me Ngāti Manawa, ā, ko te Whānau a Hinerupe, me Ngāti Koro āna hapū. Sydnee Koia hails
from the iwi of Ngāti Porou, Tūhoe and Ngāti Manawa, as well as the hapū of Whānau a Hinerupe
and Ngāti Koro.
“Ko Hikurangi me Tawhiuau ngā maunga
Ko Waiapu me Rangitaiki me Whirinaki ngā awa
Ko Horouta me Mataatua ngā waka,Ko Rahui me Painoaiho ngā marae
Ko Whanau a Hinerupe me Ngāti Koro ngā hapū
Ko Ngati Porou me Tuhoe me Ngati Manawa ngā iwi
Ko Sydnee Koia tōku ingoa.“


Sydnee is studying towards her Bachelor of Science – she originally chose astronomy as her major, but then found her niche in chemistry. Now that she’s in her third year, she’s added in philosophy and indigenous development as well. Sydnee finds these subjects complement each other well, in more ways than she expected. She’s really interested in what people at the MacDiarmid Institute are doing with MOFs and imagines a future in which there will be other concepts developed that aren’t even thought of yet. Sydnee feels excited about what the possibilities might be.

Eady Manawaiti – Te Kainga Rua Award recipient at Waikato Institute of Technology

Eady describes himself as a Māori, a landowner, and a science student. He has had a varied career up until this point, including playing rugby professionally, training as a mechanic, working as truck driver and working at Fonterra. He as been studying science since the end of 2018. Eady loves science, and if he had his way again, says he would study it straight out of school. He is in the process of doing a carbon cover/cropping microgreen project at his farm near Te Kuiti. It covers 150m2

Eady M

Shaun McNeil – Te Taumata Award recipient at the University of Waikato

Shaun is of Māori descent and hails from Waihi, with his family based around the Coromandel and Bay of Plenty. The main three iwi in his heritage are Ngati Tuwharetoa, Tuhoe, and Te Arawa. He is currently studying towards a Master of Science (Research) in Chemistry and is thoroughly enjoying the change from undergraduate to postgraduate study. Shaun is keen to go on to do a PhD once he completes his Masters, and is hopeful that the project he’s working on now will go well enough that he can continue to pursue it at PhD level.

He noticed towards the end of his undergraduate studies that there were distinct groups within his cohort: those who wanted to go into industry; those who wanted to teach; and those who wanted to go into research. Shaun said he definitely falls into the last category – his long-term goal is to get into academia and find out ‘cool new things’.

Deron Sharma – Piki Ake Award recipient at the University of Waikato

Deron SharmaDeron is from Fiji but has lived in New Zealand his whole life, primarily in Hamilton where he is now attending the University of Waikato. He is studying mechanical engineering, chemistry and mathematics with the aim of eventually getting into aerospace engineering - a goal he's had since he was eight years old. Deron would like to work with the engines of planes, designing them and looking at things like fuel efficiency. He describes himself as 'living in the future' and now he is getting closer to finishing his degree, he is thinking about his next steps.