Discovery Scholarship recipients - 2021

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Discovery Scholarship recipients - 2021

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Cameron Rowe - Te Taumata Award recipient at Victoria University of Wellington

Cameron RoweCameron is of Māori descent and hails from Ngāi Tahu, an iwi in the South Island. She is currently completing her Bachelor of Science, double majoring in Chemistry and Environmental Science, in efforts to educate herself about the impact people have on the environment and how best we can alleviate it.  
Cameron is looking forward to the future, the opportunities and meeting people who can challenge her way of thinking and help her use her degree to its full potential.


Jesse Wood - Piki Ake Award recipient at Victoria University of Wellington

Jesse WoodHello there. I'm Jesse. My goal is to leave the world a better place than I found it. I plan to bring that goal into reality by creating technology which improves the quality of life. These goals have motivated my passion for software engineering and the open source community as a tool for sharing knowledge. This objective has led me to an internship at NIWA, collaborating with biologists, physicists and engineers to publish their research on our oceans and atmosphere to a global audience. Software is a medium to explore my scientific curiosity and contribute a meaningful change.

Maia Dean - Te Taumata Award recipient at the University of Otago

Untitled design 35 v2Turou, Turou
Kia Orana,
Ko Maia Dean toku ingoa
Kapuaia mai a tupuna Kuki Airani, e tupuna Viti Initia, e te Papaa
Anauia I Otepoti, Aotearoa
Kia Orana

Born and raised in Dunedin, my ai tupuna hail from the pacific islands of Rarotonga and Fiji.

Coming from a family of teachers, entrepreneurs and scientists I’ve always had an interest in the sciences and seeing how and why the world works the way it does. This is why I am studying towards a degree in Chemistry and Physics with the aim of contributing to spacecraft exploration and quantum mechanics. I want to explore the very stars that my ancestors used to travel the oceans. I applied for the Discovery Scholarship programme because I wanted to meet and collaborate with like-minded people from various backgrounds. My personal, professional and career aspiration is to be the best me that I can be and by doing so I want to inspire the next generation of Pacific islanders to achieve their dreams.

Heamasi Vaioleti - Te Kainga Rua Award recipient at the University of Auckland

pix9 v2Heamasi Koloa Vaioleti is the fifth youngest out of 10 siblings. He spent his secondary years of school in Tonga and was raised by his paternal grandmother as a child with the help of her sisters and paternal aunts and uncles.

In 2010 Heamasi migrated to New Zealand in search of further education, but this was interrupted by an unforeseen medical condition that required open-heart surgery. Post-recovery, he worked in IT and building construction and in 2019, when he received New Zealand residency, it turned the desire to return to university into reality. 

A Tongan proverb Heamasi would like to share:
Si’i kae hā
Small but paramount

A courteous and altruistic act may seem small now but can reveal itself to be significantly great in the future. 

To Heamasi being a Scholarship recipient does not mean he, alone, is a success because families and friends have helped him along the way. He is grateful to those who have shared their breads with him and grateful for the families who have welcomed him into their household. 

With this platform, Heamasi hopes to encourage the younger Pasifika generation that nothing is impossible if you commit to your goal with perseverance. Haemasi says that the MacDiarmid Institute Discovery Scholarship has given him the opportunity to finally finish what he had envisioned when he migrated to New Zealand. He hopes to help Māori and Pasifika students in the University of Auckland's Tuākana programme. Heamasi also would like to run fundamental maths skill classes for high school students within his community to build up their confidence around numbers and literacy in order to succeed at tertiary level.

Alyssa Thomas – Te Mātauranga Pūtaiao Award recipient at Victoria University of Wellington

Alyssa Thomas v2

Kia ora!

Ko Manaia te maunga
Ko Whangārei-Terenga-Paraoa te moana
Ko Ngātiwai te iwi
Ko Patuharakeke te hapū
Ko Takahiwai te marae
Ko Pirihi te whānau
Ko Alyssa Thomas tōku ingoa

My name is Alyssa Thomas! I have just completed my final year studying a Bachelor of Science, double majoring in Geography and Development Studies and minoring in Māori Studies. Next year I will continue into a Master's of Indigenous Studies. I have been immersing myself in the Māori culture throughout my degree and enjoying finding ways to incorporate this body of knowledge into science practices. I am incredibly passionate about environmental sustainability and addressing climate change, and I hope to continue doing this while using a Māori perspective.

I am incredibly fortunate to receive this scholarship as it has supported my studies this year and beyond. I hope I can encourage more people to recognise the significant contribution that mātauranga Māori can make in science industries across New Zealand. 

Shannon Macdonald - Te Taumata Award recipient at the University of Auckland

ShannonI have been encapsulated by science ever since I was young, and that passion only grows exponentially within me as I learn more about it. My curiosity has led me to take a conjoint in a Bachelor if Advanced Science specialising in Chemistry and a Bachelor of Engineering with the intent of specialising in Biomedical Engineering next year. I cannot wait to make a difference in the world through research, discovery and design throughout my degree and future career.

A deeper fire inside of me started also when I was little. The spark of this fire came from learning I was part Fijian and Ni-Vanuatu, this small piece of knowledge made me excited to learn more about my background, food, ancestors, challenges, culture, and identity. 

Do not ever stop learning.

I am incredibly passionate about environmental sustainability and addressing climate change, and I hope to continue doing this while using a Māori perspective.

Alyssa Thomas Te Mātauranga Pūtaiao Award recipient Victoria University of Wellington

Te Rina - Piki Ake Award recipient at the University of Canterbury

Untitled design 46Te Rina is an aspiring engineer, undertaking an Electrical and Electronic Engineering degree, minoring in Power systems at the University of Canterbury. Being the first in her whānau to reach university, she is driven to work hard to show her tēina that they are not limited by their situation or what society expect young Māori to be. Previously working as a youth leader in the East Side of Christchurch, she aims to encourage the young people in her community with similar backgrounds to overcome their current struggles and strive for success. She is very excited about the future of the electricity industry, mostly looking at the opportunities and challenges a 100% renewable energy society will create and working across industries to create a more unified New Zealand.