Kupe Leadership Scholarship

The prestigious Kupe Leadership Scholarship offers a unique opportunity for exceptional students from all faculties to enrich a year of their postgraduate studies.

The Scholarship offers Scholars an exciting experience of personal growth and challenge alongside their honours, postgraduate diploma or masters courses at the University of Auckland.

The Kupe Leadership Programme

The Kupe Leadership Programme will offer a unique experience that each year will develop a cohort of future leaders who are committed to Aotearoa New Zealand and who will help envision and create a dynamic, creative and successful future for this country. Students will gain competency to understand and include diverse people and perspectives. This will enable them to work towards leadership success measured not solely by bottom line results, but by a more holistic set of outcomes across social, environment, economic and cultural measures.

The Kupe Leadership programme draws on the legend of the great Pacific explorer, Kupe, who, together with his wife, Kurumārōtini, is credited with discovering and naming this land “Aotearoa”. Their sense of adventure and courage in heading out across uncharted waters, drawing on their sailing skills and travelling by the stars, exemplifies the kind of spirit needed by leaders in today’s uncertain and fast-changing world.

To help the Scholars navigate their Kupe Leadership year, each scholar will have the invaluable benefit of  one-on-one mentoring from someone who is an acknowledged and respected leader in their field.

The cohort will come together for a three-day Orientation in February and then engage in leadership workshops throughout the year, drawing on the expertise of top facilitators, the wisdom and knowledge of their peers, the monthly meetings with their mentors, as well as interaction with a broad range of guest presenters. The programme will utilise research-informed models for leadership development, delivered in an experiential format including live case studies and practical exercises, with input from leaders and professionals with diverse experience across the public, private and not for profit sectors.

Statue of Kupe and Kurumārōtini on the Wellington waterfront.
Statue of Kupe and Kurumārōtini on the Wellington waterfront.

Who are the Kupe Leadership Scholars?

Kupe Scholars will be strong academically. They will also demonstrate a commitment to service and will have a higher sense of purpose - for New Zealand, their community or their discipline - and in what they want to achieve in their lives. They will have an instinct and demonstrated potential to lead, but also an ability to collaborate - recognising the importance of achieving a larger purpose than gaining recognition for individual accomplishment. Values such as integrity, humility, resilience and determination are critically important.

Over time, the Kupe Leadership alumni will develop a reputation for embodying these values and for contributions they make, nationally and possibly internationally. In so doing, they will fulfil the vision and purpose of the Kupe Leadership Scholarship.

Kupe Leadership Scholarship 2021 recipients

Kupe Leadership Scholarship alumni

Read more about some of our Kupe alumni:

KDee Ma'ia'i

2019 Scholar KDee is the first Pacific woman to be awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford. She will be undertaking a three-year DPhil (the Oxford equivalent of a PhD) in International Development, focusing on the Pacific region Read more at Rhodes Scholar KDee-Aimiti Ma’ia’i – standing on the shoulders of others.

Benjamin Robb and Zach Withers

2020 Scholars Benjamin and Zach talk about their experiences in the programme at Business students tackle leadership issues they care about.

Ane Tonga

2019 Scholar Ane was appointed to a curatorial position dedicated to Pacific Art at the Auckland City Art Gallery. Read more at Ane Tonga: Pacific glam at the gallery.

Rhieve Grey

2020 Scholar Rhieve  (Ngāti Tūwharetoa ki Taupō, Ngāti Manunui, Ngāti Porou) was awarded a 2020 Rhodes Scholarship to carry out postgraduate study at the University of Oxford in the prestigous Clinical Psychology Programme. Read more at Rhodes Scholar puts the mahi in to combat social inequality.

What does the Kupe Leadership Scholarship include?

The Kupe Leadership Scholarship is for one academic year of full-time study. The Kupe Leadership Programme will involve a three-day Orientation in February, followed by a series of one or two-day sessions throughout the year. Scholars will  meet with their mentors on a monthly basis, and will attend presentations from a diverse range of leaders in the course of the year.

Throughout  the Kupe Leadership Programme, the cohort will develop and apply their leadership skills in the context of a leadership issue of their choice.

In addition to the bespoke Kupe Leadership Programme and the one-on-one mentoring, Kupe Leadership Scholars will receive either a $22,000 stipend OR a $10,000 stipend plus on-campus self-catered studio accommodation at 55 Symonds Street up to a total value of around $25,000.

Application dates

Applications for the 2022 scholarships will open on Thursday 1 July and will close at midday on Monday 30 August 2021.

How to apply

For a guide on how to apply, visit How to apply for the Kupe Leadership Scholarship.