Scholarships for 300 at low-income schools to tackle inequity in uni graduates

Three hundred students from low-decile schools will receive full scholarships to Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha (Canterbury University), from next year, as part of an initiative to make tertiary education more accessible and its pool of graduates more diverse.

80 per cent of current university scholarship recipients are from the wealthiest schools in the country; unveiled by the University as part of it's 150 year birthday celebrations yesterday, the new scholarship (Te Kakau a Māui) is part of addressing that.

“Our vision is to close the equity gap in participation, retention and success rates between currently under-served ākonga and the general university population,”  University of Canterbury Māori, Pacific and equity executive director Sacha McMeeking says.

“We want to inspire those students who may not have considered university as an option, who may be the first in their whānau to enrol, by covering their entire undergraduate degree course fees.”

Tā Apirana Ngata was the first Māori graduate from Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha in 1893; the university counts leaders from science, politics and sport in its alumni.

Te Kakau a Māui as a name was about acknowledging the achievements of Māui, in the face of adversity; the kakau as the handle, or tool offered through tertiary studies.

“Many students must overcome trials and hardships like Māui, and much like a kakau, a scholarship enables students to achieve their dreams and aspirations.”

Students will be given wraparound support services, to help them throughout their studies, with the first 150 students arriving in 2023, followed by a second intake in the 2024 academic year.

Te Kakau a Māui scholarships can be applied for at

Applications close August 15, 2022 for the 2023 intake.