19 May 2021

Te Waiu o Aotearoa Trust has announced the recipients of its 2021 tertiary study scholarships.

Three Māori tertiary business undergraduate students have each received $5,000 towards their study and accommodation costs.

The scholarship was established to promote, develop and provide for the education and advancement of Māori, within the banking and finance industry, and general business. Westpac NZ administers the Trust.

The recipients are:


1.  Te Ao Leach, Ngāti Porou, Tūhoe and Te Arawa

Te Ao (pictured above) is in her third year studying a Bachelor of Commerce and Law at The University of Auckland and says this scholarship will help her reach her financial goal of finishing university debt free.

“This scholarship will help with the financial burden of paying off my student fees.

“I have always been passionate about seeing Māori succeed in both Te Ao Māori and Te Ao Pākeha.

“When I finish studying, I want to give back to my iwi and make a positive difference by establishing a Māori business that is run by Māori, for Māori. This will be a business that makes a positive change to the negative statistics of Māori in the justice system and encourages Māori into the business industry,” she said.

Te Ao is a member of Ngā Tauira Māori, which is the Māori Students Association and holds the position of secretary of Te Mana Pākihi, which is the Māori Business Association at The University of Auckland.

“I also perform for kapa haka group Whāngarā-Mai-Tāwhiti and we’re heading to Te Matatini 2022 early next year, which I am really looking forward to,” she said.


2.  Tama Hauiti Potaka, Ngāti Hauiti, Ngāti Tama ki Te Upoko o Te Ika, me Ngāi Te Ohuake

Tama is in his fifth year studying Commerce and Science through The University of Auckland and says this scholarship will help remove the burden of having a large student loan.

“This means I can focus my attention on studying, rather than working part time. Living costs in Auckland create significant financial strain, therefore, this scholarship will relieve some of the financial hardship that I currently face,” he said.

Tama Hauiti Potaka is in his fifth year at The University of Auckland


After graduating, Tama wants to join the corporate sector and later move to larger Māori organisations.

“I want to create equitable outcomes that positively impact Māori individuals and communities. The knowledge and skills I will gain from big corporate entities will be shared for the betterment of Ngāi Māori,” he said.

Tama is involved with Nga Tauira Māori o Tamaki Makaurau, and different aspects of Te Ao Māori; kapa haka, whaikōrero, whakawhanaungatanga, hākinakina and whakangahau.

In 2019 he was selected to sit on the Financial Advisors Technical Working Group for the New Zealand Sustainable Finance Forum and contributed to their final report. He contributed by representing Māori and youth.

He is also involved within numerous Māori student associations at The University of Auckland.


3.  Awa Wano, Taranaki

Awa is in his second year studying a Bachelor of Business Studies at Waikato University and says this scholarship will help with his finances.

“I’ll use this money to start paying back my loan, so it will help a lot.

“One of my main goals after I finish studying is to work for my iwi and find an executive role with them in Taranaki.

“My dad is the CEO of Taranaki iwi and I’m already involved with their local Māori youth. It’s encouraging for younger people to see me and other Māori people in the business circle to give them confidence to take this career path,” he said.

Awa is fluent in Te Reo, he attended Koōhanga Reo, Kura Kaupapa and a Kaupapa Māori secondary school.