Sonny and Mona Riini Memorial Scholarship winners

17 September 2018
Maxine Moeke (left) and Heather Ruru (right)
Scholarship winners Maxine Moeke (left) and Heather Ruru (right)

An honour and a privilege” and “a welcome relief” from the exorbitant costs of living in Auckland are the reaction of the 2018 winners of the Te Karahipi Whakamaumaharatanga ki a Sonny rāua ko Mona Riini (the Sonny and Mona Riini Memorial Scholarship)

The scholarship winners for 2018 are Bachelor of Education (Teaching) Huarahi Māori second-year students Maxine Moeke and Heather Ruru.

The scholarship offers up to $4,500 to support second-year Huarahi Māori students to continue in their studies.

"Winning this prestigious award means that I am able to enhance my personal and professional development through the strong links I maintain with ‘te haukāinga’ ki Muriwai in Turanga-nui-ā-Kiwa,” Maxine Moeke said. “It means I am able to develop te reo me ōna tikanga ō Ngāi Tāmanuhiri which is an integral part of my culture and education. In addition, it means that I am able strengthen my cultural capability through kapa haka and the Māori Performing Arts in Gisborne.”

Maxine said this award also allows her to regularly visit her grandmother, who is her inspiration to become a great Māori teacher and is now not well. “Having relocated to Auckland to complete these studies the living expenses in Auckland are exorbitant. Therefore, this award is a welcome relief."

Heather Ruru quotes a whakatauākī (proverb): “Haere i muri o te tira parāoa.”

“This whakatauākī speaks of following after leaders of great mana, to achieve success," Heather said. By receiving this scholarship, I am honoured and privileged to be following behind the many raukura who have received the award, and also our leaders of great mana, Sonny and Mona Riini.

“Me mihi maioha ka tika ki ōku pouako e hāpai tonu ana i te whare o te mātauranga, ki tōku whānau o te Huarahi Māori e whakamahana ana i taua whare.

"He whakatenatena tēnei whakawhiwhinga kia whakapau kaha tonu, ā, kia māia te whai i te iti kahurangi, otirā te ikeiketanga o te mātauranga.

“He uri tēnei nō ngā iwi o te rā e huru ake ana, arā nō Te Aitanga a Mahaki, Ngāi Tai ki Tōrere me Te Whakatōhea ahau. Ko Heather Ruru tōku ingoa”

The scholarship was established in 1998 in recognition of the significant contribution made by Sonny and Mona to the Faculty of Education and Social Work, in particular their support as whakaruruhau (mentors) of the Huarahi Māori Specialisation of the Bachelor of Education (Teaching) Programme.

Find out more about the scholarships.

Learn more about the Huarahi Māori programme.