$5k PSL Uenuku/Ngāti Rangi scholarship winners announced

The ten PSL Raetihi Education Scholarship winners all show the potential to make a direct, positive, long-term impact on their community.

In 2013, 18,000 litres of diesel spilled from Turoa ski field contaminating the Mākōtuku stream, which provides the Raetihi town water supply. As part of the Environment Court sentencing process for both the ski field operator Ruapehu Alpine Lifts and fuel storage tank manufacturer Petroleum Services Limited (PSL), local iwi Uenuku and Ngāti Rangi submitted victim impact statements.

Following a restorative justice hui with PSL, in negotiation with Uenuku and Ngāti Rangi, PSL director David Kraakman offered a $5000 education scholarship for Raetihi residents. The resulting award has been split between Antonia Hoeta, Justine Vaughan, Benson and Patrick Carmichael, Keira Crossart, Hawira Katene, Tanja and Uenuku Reedy and Ricky-lee and Saxon Taura-Hawira who've all been given between $1667 and $208.

Photo above: Uenuku chair Aiden Gilbert (second left) and Ngāti Rangi Pou Hāpai Kataraina Cassidy (centre) with some of the ten PSL Raetihi Education Scholarship winners including, Tanja Reedy, 10, Justine Vaughan, Benson Carmichael, 7, Ricky-lee Taura-Hawira, 8, Antonia Hoeta, and Hawira Katene, 7.

Uenuku chair Aiden Gilbert said it was pleasing to be able to deliver a direct and positive benefit for the Raetihi community, which suffered the full impact of the diesel spill.

“Our main criteria was to support study that leads to the enhancement or protection of the environment, or that may benefit the Raetihi community in the future. The promise and potential of all ten of our scholarship applicants was clear, and we decided it was important to support all of them. We’re pleased the scholarships will support a cross-section of our tamariki and rangatahi, from early primary school age through to tertiary students.”

Mr Gilbert said the iwi were especially happy to support Justine Vaughan, who is studying Environmental Studies at Te Wānanga o Raukawa. “We hope the knowledge she will gain will be returned to our community to enhance and protect Raetihi and its environs – and perhaps ensure a disaster such as the 2013 diesel spill never happens again. We’re proud and excited for our community that Antonia Hoeta is about to begin medical studies at Otago, and are equally excited for the eight primary school tamariki enrolled in an extra-curricular About Words Reading Programme endorsed by Raetihi School.”

Mr Gilbert said it was great to be able to support pupils enrolled in a literacy programme designed to ensure children are able to engage fully and succeed in education from an early age. “This is the kind of early intervention that can change the way our tamariki 

view education for the rest of their lives, and could be a stepping stone to success and achievement. Congratulations to all our scholarship recipients and best wishes to you all for a productive and successful academic year."

Ngāti Rangi Pou Ārahi Andy Gowland-Douglas said the new knowledge gained by all the recipients was clearly going to be of direct benefit to the wider Raetihi community. "The passion all these young students have for study and further learning should be an inspiration to us all. Having role models like Justine and Antonia show all our whānau that anything is possible if they dare to dream."