Tūwharetoa Settlement Trust celebrates 5 years of STEM Scholarships

Left – Sonny Vercoe, Right Haukapuanui Vercoe

The Tūwharetoa Settlement Trust celebrates its fifth year of offering $10,000 STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Scholarships to Ngāti Tūwharetoa descendants.

The 2024 Tūwharetoa Settlement Trust STEM Scholarship recipients are:

  • Haukapuanui Vercoe (Ngāti Hinerau, Ngāti Rauhoto)
  • Sonny Vercoe (Ngāti Hinerau, Ngāti Rauhoto)
  • Miriama Wilson (Ngāti Te Koherā)

The STEM scholarship initiative began in 2019, with one science student receiving $10,000. The Settlement Trust now offers three $10,000 STEM Scholarships every year to its registered members.

Why the candidates were chosen

Miriama Wilson

Each candidate has dedicated themselves to endeavours which have the potential to benefit Ngāti Tūwharetoa and Aotearoa as a whole.

Haukapuanui Vercoe is a civil engineer raised in the Kōhanga Reo and the Kura Kaupapa Māori movement. He is working towards a PHD from the University of Auckland and his research looks into what can be done to protect marae against natural hazards such as flooding and liquefaction. He is now a two-time recipient of this scholarship. His research has covered 869 marae across the motu.

Sonny Vercoe like his brother Haukapuanui is a civil engineer working towards a PHD from the University of Auckland. His research also looks into protecting marae but focussing on inspecting marae, and creating 3D models and structural drawings which marae can use to plan for the future. He is a first-time recipient of this scholarship.

Miriama Wilson is a chemist working towards a PHD in chemistry at the University of Auckland. Her research looks at tracking the presence of the prostate cancer biomarker, Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) in wastewater. In 2018, New Zealand was ranked 12th highest in the world for prostate cancer cases, with 90.8 cases per 100,000 people. Miriama hopes her research will help in the fight to save lives.

With research projects with such great potential as these, the Settlement Trust is pleased to offer its support.

Why STEM Scholarships?

Tūwharetoa Settlement Trust knows science and technology play an important part in the future success of Ngāti Tūwharetoa and Aotearoa.  Each recipient was chosen by the Settlement Trust in recognition of their achievements so far, along with their potential to contribute to that future success.

The STEM Scholarship programme is part of the Trust’s commitment to promoting and advancing the economic prosperity of Tūwharetoa iwi as a whole.

About Tūwharetoa Settlement Trust STEM Scholarships

The three $10,000 scholarships are open to university students in their third year and above studying in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Applications open every year in February, and close at the end of March.

This is part of the Settlement Trust’s ongoing entente with Tūwharetoa Māori Trust Board and the Ngāti Tūwharetoa Fisheries Charitable Trust annual efforts to supports Tūwharetoa descendants in their education aspirations.