Nelson student wins M¯aori scholarship
Cawthron Institute has been a feature of the Nelson landscape for almost 100 years, and every year provides chances for young students to get involved in their research.
This summer a new scholarship for Ma¯ ori students was available for the first time, Te Pı¯tau Whakarei Karahipi, in partnership with Nga¯ Pae o te Ma¯ ramatanga (NPM, Ma¯ ori Centre of Research Excellence).
NPM communications manager Mike Hennessey said there was an under-representation of Ma¯ ori in scientific careers, and Te Pı¯tau Whakarei Karahipi would give Ma¯ori undergraduates an important experience in the scientific community.
The recipient of the scholarship, Jaye Barclay, Nga¯ ti Apa, is entering her third year of study at Victoria University, studying three majors and one minor.
‘‘I really, really wanted to get [the scholarship], it looked really awesome,’’ she said.
‘‘At first I was sort of hesitant to apply, because I didn’t think I would get it, I was a bit, like, ‘oh are my grades good enough, they’ll be picking people with straight A+, and then finally my family and partner convinced me to just go for it.’’
Barclay has spent the past month working on a project for the Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge. Her career goal at the moment was to eventually do field research in marine biology, possibly working for DOC.
She had originally applied to work on a different project at Cawthron, but ended up working on a project focussing on social science - applying the idea of social licence to the New Zealand and Tiriti o Waitangi context. She said at first she was hesitant, but ended up loving the project.
The work included interviewing people about their opinions on impacts of marine and aquaculture on various things, including cultural impacts.
She said having a Ma¯ ori perspective helped her a lot.
‘‘Also, being Ma¯ori, it’s validating, because you don’t see a huge amount of public work like this being done.’’
She said in most of her classes, there were very few Ma¯ ori people in class.
‘‘In all of my science papers, there’s not many Ma¯ ori. There’s a lot of Pakeha, and a few other peoples. It’s pretty similar in all levels of academia,’’ she said.
‘‘You don’t really see many Ma¯ ori people in English Lit.’’
Barclay said the Ma¯ ori emphasis for this scholarship was ‘‘really awesome’’.
‘‘I was already keen to get back in touch with my Iwi before I came here, but since I did I’ve become more excited to ... I’m really keen to get involved with things they’ve got going on, looking at conservation and restoration of their foreshore and seabed,’’ she said.
She hoped her experiences could help her encourage and inspire others to get involved in science and ‘‘get out and do awesome things’’.
Jaye Barclay, of Nga¯ ti Apa, was the inaugural recipient of the new scholarship, Te P¯ıtau Whakarei Karahipi, at the Cawthron Institute.