National | 28th Māori Battalion Scholarship

Julian Wilcox awarded prestigious 28th Māori Battalion Scholarship

Photo / File
By Maryana Garcia, Rotorua Daily Post

Veteran broadcaster Julian Wilcox says he was “hugely honoured and quite emotional” about receiving a Ngarimu VC and 28th Māori Battalion Memorial Scholarship in Rotorua yesterday.

Ten future leaders of Māoridom gathered at Te Papaiouru Marae in Ōhinemutu for what was the scholarship’s first award ceremony in Rotorua and the second time in the scholarship’s nearly 80-year history that the ceremony took place outside of Parliament in Wellington.

The scholarships are awarded annually to students of Māori descent who possess characteristics similar to those of the 28th Māori Battalion soldiers and are enrolling in or already enrolled in tertiary study.

One of the 10 scholarship recipients was veteran broadcaster Julian Wilcox (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Te Arawa).

Wilcox was awarded a two-year, $40,000 scholarship to support his completion of a Doctor of Philosophy in Indigenous studies at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi.

“I was hugely honoured and quite emotional about it.”

Wilcox said further study was always at the back of his mind but his PhD came about when he was faced with the responsibility of writing two books.

“That kind of endeavour requires discipline.”

Wilcox’s thesis was centred on Kupe who, according to some tribal narratives, was the first Polynesian to discover the islands of New Zealand.

Wilcox said there were many benefits to receiving such a prestigious award, which allowed him to focus on his research and meet with others to discuss and gather information about Kupe.

“This scholarship pays tribute to the legacy of the 28th Māori Battalion and honours Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa Ngarimu.”

He said he was humbled to follow in the footsteps of previous scholarship recipients, some of which were members of his whānau.

Yesterday was the first time the Ngarimu VC and 28th Māori Battalion Memorial Scholarships ceremony was held in Rotorua. Photo / Maryana Garcia

The ceremony was attended by friends and family of scholarship recipients, members of the Ngarimu Board, Associate Minister of Education Kelvin Davis, MP for Waiariki Rawiri Waititi, Willie Apiata VC and Tā Robert Gillies, the last surviving member of the 28th Māori Battalion.

Speaking to the event attendees, Davis said the presence of Apiata and Gillies added “extra mana” to the occasion.

“This is a scholarship full of mana.”

Davis encouraged the scholarship winners to follow in the footsteps of Apiata, Gillies and the legacy of the 28th Māori Battalion.

“I’d like to encourage all recipients to be the leaders of Māoridom, to be the leaders in your community.”

Apiata, himself a former recipient of the scholarship, challenged those present to remember those who stood beside them to support them.

“My challenge is: Create your pathway, create an environment to support you to succeed. We are all here to support you.

“I wouldn’t be standing here, as the person I am today, without all my uncles, all my role models.”

The Ngarimu VC and 28th Māori Battalion Memorial Scholarship and award recipients all demonstrate characteristics that align with the values of the 28th Māori Battalion and have a desire to give back to their communities, whānau, hapū and iwi.

The scholarships and awards presented yesterday included one doctoral, three masters, three undergraduate, three vocational education and training scholarships and two video competition awards for ākonga in Years 7-13.

Ngarimu VC and 28th Māori Battalion Scholarship Fund Recipients 2023

Undergraduate Scholarship Recipients:

Brigham Riwai-Couch (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Kahungunu, Rangitāne ki Wairau, Ngāti Kuia, Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō)

Varron Armstrong (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Whātua ki Kaipara, Ngāti Pōrou)

Maia Aroha Clark (Ngāti Hāua ki Taumarunui, Ngāti Maniapoto)

Masters Scholarship Recipients:

Anaru Palmer (Ngāi Te Rangi ki Tauranga Moana, Ngāti Tamaterā ki Pare Hauraki, Ngāti Mahuta ki Waikato, Ngāti Porou, Te Whakatōhea, Ngāti Maniapoto)

Victoria Carran (Ngāti Awa (Ngāti Pūkeko), Waikato Tainui (Ngāti Mahuta)

Tenaya Brow (Te Aitanga a Hauiti ki Uawa)

Doctoral Scholarship Recipient:

Julian Wilcox (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Te Arawa)

VET Scholarship Recipients:

Logan Speight (Ngāti Porou)

Renay Jones (Te Whakatōhea)

Stuart Savage (Ngāti Kahungunu ki Heretaunga)

Ngarimu Video Competition Winners:

Kura | School: Te Wharekura o Ruatoki

Te Reo Māori Stream

Video title: George Takurua

Bilingual Stream

Video title: Anituatua Black