Maori Battalion inspiration for Maori scholars

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What the Maori Battalion achieved in battle, their mokopuna are emulating in classrooms, laboratories and lecture halls and marae all over New Zealand, according to Associate Education Minister Dr Pita Sharples.

Speaking at the presentation of the Ngarimu VC and 28 (Maori) Battalion Memorial Scholarship Awards in Parliament today, Dr Sharples said the scholarship recipients, like their forebears, brought honour to the people.

28MaoriBTThese recipients stand out for the qualities that epitomise the Maori Battalion. They can demonstrate strong knowledge and understanding of te reo Maori me ona tikanga. They are pursuing the challenge of new ideas or discovering new fields. And they demonstrate mana, perseverance and courage, said Dr Sharples.

The scholarship fund was established in 1945 to commemorate the bravery of Second Lieutenant Moana Nui a Kiwa Ngarimu VC, and the service of Maori soldiers during World War Two.

Second Lieutenant Ng?rimu never made it home to Ruatoria, said Dr Sharples. But such was the regard for his deeds that more than 7,000 people attended the hui where his parents were presented with his posthumous Victoria Cross.

The scholarships original focus was on secondary education, switching to tertiary studies in the 1970s. In 2007, the scholarships were broadened to cover a wider range of purposes from academic studies to leadership scholarships for enterprising, innovative and influential people, to capture and reflect the qualities, characteristics and attributes of the soldiers of the M?ori Battalion more strongly, and to place more emphasis on the value that recipients can contribute to their people, said Dr Sharples.

From 57 strong applicants this year, eight scholars were selected, six of whom were students at kaupapa Maori schools.

Live in celebration of your identity, language and culture… Live knowing you can achieve what you set your heart on. Your ability and determination got you here today. Your whanau supported you to follow your path and succeed. I wish you well. Dr Sharples told them.

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