Investing in the long term infrastructure of Ngati Porou and the East Coast is one of the objectives shared between Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou and a national Civil Engineering company. An educational scholarship awarded recently has helped cement this relationship further and provides another step towards achieving their mutual goals.
In October last year the Runanganui partnered with Fulton Hogan to launch a tertiary scholarship for Ngati Porou pursuing a career in the Engineering profession. The successful applicant receives $5000 per year towards their course fees, up to a maximum of three years. Applications were sought from Ngati Porou enrolled or intending to enrol in a Bachelor Degree related to Engineering.
Ngarimu Parata was selected as the inaugural recipient of the joint scholarship, and a formal presentation was made in February by Dr Apirana Mahuika, (Chairman of Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou) and Bob Fulton (Chief Operating Officer for Regional Business, Fulton Hogan).
Ngarimu is Ngati Porou descent with hapū affiliations to Te Aitanga a Mate, Te Whānau a Tuwhakairiora and Ngāti Horowai amongst many and is also a descendant of Ngāi Tahu.
Shortly afterwards the twenty two year old departed for Christchurch to begin the first year of a Bachelor of Engineering Technology, majoring in Civil Engineering at the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology. Part of the scholarship also involves summer holiday employment by Fulton Hogan.
The scholarship selection panel – Andrew Harvey and Anita Varga from Fulton Hogan, and Teepa Wawatai and Meredith Ruru from TRONPnui – took into account a wide range of criteria which included a commitment to the field of engineering and to Ngati Porou. Panelist and Fulton Hogan’s Regional Manager for the East Coast, Andrew Harvey, says that Ngarimu demonstrated natural leadership skills, a strong work ethic and a desire to contribute to the development of the region.
“One of the common goals we have identified through our partnership with Ngati Porou is a skilled workforce, and the scholarship is an outcome of this objective. Our people are our industry, and without good, skilled people we cannot build and maintain the infrastructure that we are entrusted with. Ngati Porou are seeking sustainable employment so it’s a win-win opportunity for both our organisations.”
Teepa Wawatai, Chief Executive for Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou says that investing in infrastructure development as well as people development is crucial in helping to transform Ngati Porou’s economy and prospects. “We need better roading to reduce transportation costs, better water storage and irrigation to improve the productivity of our lands, and affordable renewable energy platforms to assist our communities.”
“Currently Christchurch is going through a time of major rebuild, and there are many opportunities over the next few years for qualified engineers and tradespeople. In the near future we believe the infrastructure assets of our region will also be upgraded and expanded, and we need our skilled Iwi members to come home and contribute to this development. By supporting our rangatahi such as Ngarimu to up skill, we believe our initial investment will be recouped many times over.”
Ngarimu says he is very appreciative of being awarded the scholarship. “I would like to thank Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou and Fulton Hogan for making these opportunities available for young Ngati Porou people like me. I want to become an Engineer, because first and foremost it provides me with the opportunity to return home with a set of skills and a profession that will help me to contribute to Ngati Porou. I look forward to one day reciprocating all the support I have been given.”