Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development
Eight outstanding students have been presented with inaugural forestry scholarships by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Forestry Minister Shane Jones at a special awards ceremony at the University of Canterbury.
The Ngā Karahipi Uru Rākau scholarships were developed to encourage young and talented individuals into New Zealand’s growing forestry industry. They are available to Māori and/or female students enrolling in a Bachelor of Forestry Science or Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) in Forest Engineering.
“Developing skills, capability and leadership for New Zealand’s forestry sector is a priority for the Government and Te Uru Rākau (Forestry New Zealand). These scholarships are the first step towards an exciting and rewarding career in forestry for eight exceptional individuals, who in turn will strengthen the future labour pool in this vital industry,” Jacinda Ardern said.
The 2019 recipients are: Robyn Patient from Waikuku Beach; Jessica Stock from Tasman; Cole Grace from Gisborne; George Fanning-Ihaka from Dargaville; Nicholas Melvin from Winton, Thomas Brown from Matamata; Max Gomez from Dunedin and Hannah Humphreys from Wanaka.
“Over the last five years less than a third of graduates of forestry degrees were women. While the industry is a significant employer of Māori, Māori are underrepresented in the professional and scientific areas of the industry. We hope this group of talented scholarship recipients will pave the way for the future and encourage other women and Māori to enter higher education within the forestry sector,” Jacinda Ardern said.
Shane Jones said it was an exciting time in the forestry sector, particular as we move towards our goal of planting one billion trees by 2028.
“The focus of the One Billion Trees Programme is about planting the right tree, in the right place, for the right purpose, and for this we also need the right people,” Shane Jones said.
“As technology and science change the way we do things, we need people who can work with robotics, help develop new forestry products and processes, and take them to the market. Our scholarship recipients add to the pool of talent that can accomplish this,” Shane Jones said.
Further Ngā Karahipi Uru Rākau scholarships will be awarded for the 2020 and 2021 academic years. Applications for the next round open in June and close on 15 August.