Ngā Hoe a Kupe Pathfinder Scholarships

Study area(s): Architecture; Business and government; Design; Education; Engineering; Health; Humanities and Social Sciences; Law; Music; Technology; Science
Scholarship level: School leaver
Closing date(s): 22 September
Tenure: Three years
Award for: Māori; Pasifika; Facing financial hardship; From a refugee background
Number offered: Up to eight
Value: Approximately $50,000


These scholarships were established in 2020 by Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington aimed at growing the participation and success of Māori and Pasifika students, and those from refugee and low socio-economic backgrounds in Wellington. They are focused on supporting students who have shown resilience or determination in achieving their academic and personal goals. The University will offer financial support, academic mentoring and other support throughout the recipients’ undergraduate degree programme, including accommodation in the first year of study.

Who is eligible?

Scholarship offers are conditional on the recipient gaining University Entrance and being fully enrolled in a degree programme. Recipients must stay in a university hall of residence during their first year of study. This will help build a sense of belonging in a new environment that is welcoming, safe, focused on study, personal growth, and well-being.

Selection criteria

Applicants may apply if they:

  • Are a New Zealand citizen or Permanent Resident
  • Are currently in Year 13 from one of the following 8 schools:
    • Aotea College, Porirua
    • Bishop Viard College, Porirua
    • Mana College, Elsdon
    • Naenae College, Avalon
    • Porirua College, Cannons Creek
    • St Bernard's College, Lower Hutt
    • Taita College, Taita
    • Wainuiomata High School, Lower Hutt
  • Are intending to enrol full time in the year following application at Te Herenga Waka
  • Can demonstrate resilience, innovation and overcoming adversity
  • Can show a strong commitment to gaining a University degree

Application process

A completed online application must be submitted by 4.30 pm on the closing date. Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted. Any required supporting documentation (including references) must also be received by 4.30 pm on the closing date in order for the application to be considered.

Applications will normally open one month prior to the closing date. If no application link is provided below, check back again closer to the closing date. Contact us if you have any queries.

Applicants will be shortlisted and invited to an interview.

Scholarship specific documentation

  • A personal statement outlining how the applicant has shown resilience or determination in achieving their academic and personal goals; and what they hope to achieve with their degree (maximum 1500 words).
  • A reference from the school principal, dean, teacher or careers adviser (to be requested via the online application). An application can be submitted before reference request has been completed, but the reference must be received before the closing date.
  • Endorsement of Māori or Pasifika heritage and evidence of refugee status if applicable.
  • Copy of Year 12 and Year 13 results to date.
  • A statement of earnings from parents and/or caregivers who provide financial support or a bank statement if self-supporting.

Selection process

An interview panel will include representatives from the Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Māori), the Office of the Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Pasifika), and Future Students.

How and when do students learn of the decision?

All applicants will be advised by email of the outcome of their application. Shortlisted applicants will be notified by email and phone. Successful applicants will receive notification by letter before the end of November and will be officially awarded the scholarship at an event to be advised together with their families in February.

Additional information

The University will provide a comprehensive wrap-around support package for recipients transitioning into the first year of study and ongoing support throughout their undergraduate journey. Recipients will also have opportunities to contribute to student life at the University. They will develop leadership, social responsibility and employability skills and broaden their thinking and learning by participating in the Wellington Plus Programme and other extra-curricular opportunities.

The scholarship covers full accommodation costs at a Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington catered hall of residence for the first year of study, and course fees (if applicable in the first and second years of study). In addition, recipients who continue to be enrolled full-time and maintain satisfactory academic progress will receive up to $5,500 in the first year, $6,500 in the second year, and $7,500 in the third year towards course-related and living costs.

A key feature of the Ngā Hoe a Kupe Pathfinder Scholarship programme is an active partnership between the recipient, their whānau/family/support network and the University.

Academic support

Recipients will have access to academic and professional staff to develop a scholar success plan that fully engages with learning advice and programmes.

Pastoral Support

Progress is monitored to ensure recipients are staying on track to achieve their goals. This includes regular meetings with the Equity Scholarships Programme Manager to discuss progress and/or challenges they may face. Recipients are expected to be actively engaged with relevant student services.


Recipients will have the chance to meet and network with senior students who have knowledge and experience in their respective degree programmes.

Regulations and conditions

  1. A completed online application must be submitted by 4.30 pm on the closing date. Any required supporting documentation (including references) must also be received by 4:30 pm on the closing date for the application to be considered.
  2. All offers of the Scholarship will be conditional upon the recipient gaining NCEA Level 3, University Entrance and admission to a full-year degree programme (full-time will be at the level of points considered by StudyLink as full-time). No payment of the Scholarship will be made until this condition is met.
  3. The Scholarship cannot be deferred to a later year.
  4. The Scholarship may not be held in conjunction with other awards. Exceptions will be considered by the Deciding Authority on a case by case basis.
  5. Must live in a Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington hall of residence in the first year of study.
  6. Must participate in the Wellington Plus Programme to develop leadership, social responsibility and employability skills.
  7. Recipients are expected to act as ambassadors for the University and participate in appropriate events or marketing if requested.
  8. The Scholarship is a partnership between the University, the recipient and their family and/or a trusted guardian.
  9. Financial support in subsequent years is conditional on students continuing to be enrolled full time and demonstrating satisfactory academic progress and engagement with the University community.
  10. At the discretion of the Deciding Authority, the application of the terms and conditions of the Scholarship may be modified in special circumstances or to avoid hardship to any candidate for the Scholarship.


Gail Ah-Hi – Equity Scholarships Programme Manager
Phone: +64 4 886 5629

For questions about the criteria or the application process, please contact:

Scholarships Office
Phone 0800 04 04 04