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Five NorthTec students who gained Kate Edger Charitable Trust Awards in 2017 were acknowledged at a ceremony at Government House at the University of Auckland in early August.
The Trust gives out more than 100 awards every year to female students in tertiary education in Northland and Auckland, to help them achieve their educational goals by providing scholarships and financial assistance.
Kate Edger (1857-1935), the namesake of the awards, was the first woman in New Zealand to get a university degree, in 1877, and the first woman in the then British Empire to gain a BA degree. She was a trailblazer for women's education and believed that the highest aim of education was to develop an individual’s character and their contribution to their community.
Some of the NorthTec recipients attended the afternoon awards ceremony which consisted of speeches followed by individual award presentations and a chance to meet other recipients over afternoon tea.
The occasion was themed around 2018 being the 125th anniversary of woman’s suffrage in New Zealand - which was especially significant because Kate Edger was also a champion for the female suffrage movement. She was one of the original signatories to the petition that resulted in the Electoral Act of 1893 which made New Zealand the first country in which women had the right to vote in parliamentary elections.
The NorthTec award recipients ranged across several categories with each receiving funding towards some aspect of retraining. In their applications for the awards, students submitted evidence of their existing study, their reason for applying, and an outline of their story and aspirations.
Caroline Dafoe is in the first year of her nursing degree and choose to study at NorthTec because the high online component meant she could begin study immediately despite living in Tauranga. Her award was towards her travel expenses because she commutes so that her autistic son can stay in the primary school he has just started at.
She said: “The funding has made this interim year possible and I’ll now be able to make a decision as to where to best study and live. I want to train as a nurse because I was working with doctors in Canada in appearance medicine using laser technology. This technology is in its infancy in New Zealand and I’m keen to help as it evolves here.”
Caroline was one of the NorthTec awardees to attend the ceremony. “It was a beautiful occasion and, as someone from Canada, it gave me an insight as to how big New Zealand’s global contribution to equality in education and social justice is.”
Zoe Edmonds received her award for the final year of her Applied Management degree and now works as an auditor for an accountancy business in Kerikeri. “The Kate Edger Award was one of the few scholarship options that I was eligible for as a student from a rural area. I have two young kids and had a one and a half hour daily commute each way from Kerikeri to NorthTec, so the award was a great contribution towards my study costs.”
Sheridan Willing’s award enabled her to study full time for her final year of her Bachelor in Applied Management. “I had been studying part time and I knew this final year was my last chance to apply for funding. My partner wasn’t working at the time so it really lightened our load for that year before I began my current job as an Accounts Payable Clerk at NorthTec.”
Daphne Andrell applied for her award while she was training for her National Certificate in Painting and Decorating. She said: “My award made a huge difference to me financially. I really enjoyed attending the award ceremony and it was uplifting listening to the speakers. There was a satisfaction being in an environment that acknowledged women’s ability to do anything, especially because I work in a trade that is non-traditional for women.”
A fifth NorthTec student, studying in the Social and Community Services pathway, also received an award.
Each recipient’s education has been enabled or eased by their Kate Edger Charitable Trust Award, and their journeys are in keeping with Kate Edger’s belief in the sustaining value of education: “Just as food builds up the body, knowledge builds up the mind.”
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