18 Mar 2024

The 2024 recipients of the Te Waiu o Aotearoa (TWOA) Trust scholarships have been announced.  

The four recipients come from throughout Aotearoa, but share a common purpose in wanting to build on their studies to make a difference in their communities.   

The TWOA Trust was established in 1994 as an independent entity working to promote, develop and provide for the education, advancement, and employment opportunities of students of Māori descent.  

As a partner, Westpac NZ has administered the Trust since it was established.   

Each year, the Trust awards recipients each a $5,000 grant to help with costs associated with their studies. 

Tania O’Brien, TWOA Trust Chair and Westpac NZ Chief Financial Officer, says it’s a privilege to play a role in supporting students’ ambitions.  

“Having the time and space to apply yourself to studying is really important, so I’m pleased we’re able to work with the TWOA Trust to support our recipients,” Ms O’Brien says.   

“This year’s recipients are a particularly impressive group, with several already involved in meaningful initiatives in their communities. I’m confident that all of them will go on to make a significant contribution to te ao Māori and Aotearoa and we will be watching their careers with interest.”       

The 2024 Te Waiu o Aotearoa (TWOA) Trust scholarship recipients are: 

Bree Davis, Ngāpuhi ki Whaingaroa, Ngāti Kahu ki Whaingaroa, is in her final year of an Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) through Massey University   
As the Chief Executive Officer of Te Rūnanga o Whaingaroa iwi in Northland, Bree says her current studies complement the mahi she’s already engaged in. “I recognised how theory can support my thinking to be really critical in how I make decisions,” she says. Bree’s also no stranger to study, with other qualifications including a Bachelor in Applied Social Work; Masters of Indigenous Studies; Certificate in Tertiary Teaching and several others. “The great thing is my three daughters (aged between 11 and 20) have always seen me study,” she says. “Never ever did I think I’d do an EMBA, but... for wahine Māori I really wanted to demonstrate to whānau that we can occupy these spaces.” Bree will use the funds from the scholarship to assist with paying for an overseas trip that’s part of her EMBA. And as for the future, she says she’s committed to “continuing to advocate for equitable and prosperous futures for whānau”. 

Breigh Lawson-Stanley, Ngāi Tahu, is currently studying for a Master of Laws (LLM) at The University of Canterbury 

Breigh says she was “surprised and excited” to learn she was a recipient of a 2024 TWOA scholarship. Growing up in rural Southland, she became interested in law after an intermediate school trip to the Invercargill District Court. “I just thought, oh my gosh this is great – I went home and said, I’m going to be a judge.” That conviction saw her go on to undertake an LLB at the University of Canterbury, and to then pursue her interest in biosecurity through her LLM, which is focusing on to what extent Aotearoa’s current biosecurity framework considers mātauranga and tikanga in the decision-making process. While at university, Breigh spent a year working as an intern with Ngāi Tahu’s Whai Rawa savings scheme, which she says was a fantastic experience. As for what’s next, she plans to carve out a career in corporate law while continuing to pursue her interests in biosecurity, financial markets and ESG.    

Caleb Brothers, Waikato, is in his final year of a BA/LLB conjoint at The University of Auckland 
Caleb says, “It’s pretty cool to be recognised by an organisation like Westpac, along with TWOA.” He chose to study law to help him develop an understanding of the systems that govern Aotearoa. “I’ve come to understand the role that law plays in our society, and how it influences outcomes for people every day.” While studying, Caleb is grateful to have had the opportunity to get involved in different initiatives focused on improving outcomes for iwi, hapū, and whānau Māori. He also spent the summer interning at PwC and enjoyed the opportunity to get an insight into different projects and industries. Before working out where he’ll take his career next, Caleb plans to use the scholarship money to help him undertake Te Tohu Paetahi, Waikato University’s full immersion Māori language programme. “I want to continue to use and develop my experiences and skills and eventually find a place where I can use them to make a difference.”    

Cody Anderson, Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti, Ngāti Porou, Rongowhakaata, is in his second year of a Bachelor of Business Studies doing a double major in Business Management and Marketing at Eastern Institute of Technology/Te Pūkenga in Te Tairāwhiti Gisborne  
Cody says he was “stoked” to hear that he’d been awarded a TWOA scholarship. “The scholarship is going to help me so much with my education and fees.” Cody grew up in Te Tairāwhiti Gisborne, where his parents own an orchard. Cyclone Gabrielle had an impact on him and his family, meaning the scholarship funds will be particularly helpful. Growing up, Cody regularly helped in the family orchard – he says seeing his parents work for themselves has helped to determine his future path. “I’ve always had an interest in business – I like finance and numbers, and entrepreneurship.” Studying a business degree at EIT seemed a natural choice. “I wanted something local – I didn’t want to go out of town as I didn’t want to take on a huge debt... EIT’s amazing; everything’s one on one with the tutors, and it’s a really small classroom environment which I feel personalises the learning.” Having achieved his Diploma in Business Studies, Cody will continue studying for the next two years to complete his degree. And upon completion of his studies, he hopes to enter the banking industry. “Business is my passion.”