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Matariki sets out a bright vision

At our Mahi that Matters Awards evening, Matariki Owen Turuwhenua, NZCT Scholar 2022, received our Korowai on behalf of this year’s new awardees. His beautifully delivered words captured the sentiment of this impressive new cohort of scholars.

Matariki Owen Turuwhenua, NZCT Scholar 2022
Matariki is the Head Prefect of Tarawera High School and has been a member of the Kawerau Youth Council since 2020.

“It is hard to find the words to express our gratitude for being selected to receive these amazing scholarships,” he said.

“I am sure we all realise that we have a lot of hard work ahead of us to get to where we want to be in the future.

“It’s exciting to think where we could all be in a few years with such generous scholarships and support.

“I am confident that with the guidance of our loved ones and the First Foundation whānau taking away the burden of a big student loan, having mentors that will help us overcome challenges and achieve our goals, we will be able to create our own legacy.”

A glowing example

Matariki already has a great list of achievements to his name. He’s been successful academically, including in te reo Māori. He has earned awards from Civil Defence, Duke of Edinburgh, and MANA. This bright star is also a talented musician and kapahaka performer.

Matariki says the scholarship will allow him to build a future focused on giving back to his community in Kawerau. He plans to study for a Bachelor of Law or Arts at Victoria University.

“I aspire to change the lives of those around me by either becoming an MP in Parliament, working in a government department or returning home to Kawerau to serve on the Council. Being granted this scholarship will allow me to pursue my interest in politics and my passion for giving back to the people and wider community.”


Matariki shared a special whakataukī for his peers, First Foundation supporters and our community.

Hāpaitia te ara tika, kia pūmau ai te rangatiratanga mo ngā uri whakatipu. Foster the pathway of knowledge to strength, independence and growth for future generations.