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 up to 20 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 March 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 2019 recipients

  • Ane Tonga; Master of Arts (Art History); Sponsored by Fran & Geoff Ricketts; Mentored by Dr Jenny Harper MNZM
  • Audrey Atchinson-Wildling; Master of International Business; Sponsored by Hugh Fletcher; Mentored by Rod Oram 
  • Grace Leehan; Bachelor of Music (Honours); Sponsored by Richard Sorrenson and Helen Sword; Mentored by Jess Hindin
  • Helena Crengle; Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Secondary); Sponsored by the Ralph and Eve Seelye Trust; Mentored by Pat Snedden MNZM
  • Jarvis Dams; Master of Information Technology; Sponsored by Stuart Feigin, Mentored by Elisabeth Vaneveld MNZM
  • K Dee Ma’ia’I; Bachelor of Arts (Honours); Sponsored by McCall MacBain Foundation; Mentored by Pauline Winter QSO
  • Mackenzie Henderson-Wraight; Master of Dance Movement Therapy; Sponsored by the McCall MacBain Foundation; Mentored by Kerry Ann Stanton
  • Olivia Soesbergen; Master of Public Policy; Sponsored by Bruce Aitken; Mentored by Minnie Baragwanath MNZM
  • Patricia Pillay; Master of Arts (Anthropology); Sponsored by the September Giving Trust; Mentored by Dame Anne Salmond FRSNZ
  • Rahul Makam; Bachelor of Medical Sciences (Honours); Sponsored by the McCall MacBain Foundation; Mentored by Professor Alistair Woodward
  • Stephanie Cooper; Bachelor of Science (Honours); Sponsored by the McCall MacBain Foundation; Mentored by Associate Professor Siouxsie Wiles MNZM
  • Surita Manoa; Master of Architecture (Professional); Sponsored by the William Chick Trust; Mentored by Pip Cheshire
  • Tamati Rakena; Master of Education; Sponsored by the Heartland Bank; Mentored by Shaun Clarke ONZM
  • Tristan Pang; Bachelor of Science (Honours); Sponsored by the Biggar Family; Mentored by Andrew Patterson


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 March, 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 to the value of $14,100.

Application dates

Applications for the 2020 scholarships will open on Monday 1 July and will close on Friday 23 August 2019.


How to apply

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