We’re excited to announce that Lydia is our new recipient of the HERA Whanake Scholarship!

Ko Lydia Tōku Ingoa
Nō Ōtautahi ahau
Ko Ngā Puhi Tōko Iwi
Ko Ngaitu Te Auru Tōku Hapu
Ko whakaruruhuau Tōku Waka
Ko Pukerata (Ōtaua) Tōku Marae
Ko Pūhanga Tohorā Tōku Maunga
Ko Tuhua Mohi Ingoa Whānua


Lydia is a full-time student studying at the University of Canterbury, studying towards a honors in engineering, with the intention of completing a bachelor’s in civil engineering.

She says “I chose to be an engineer because I enjoyed all aspects of science and math during high school and wanted a career that included all of them! Engineering allows for creativity and problem solving which fits me perfectly, I also love the idea of taking something and improving it to benefit the world and working industry while taking into consideration the factors of culture and sustainability.”

Her goals for the future are to complete her current studies and go into the workforce to gain experience, then she will look into doing a master’s in engineering management to allow for further job opportunities. Lydia is also inspired to bring Māori culture into further involvement in engineering as she is continuing to take Māori studies while at university.

Why is it important to support Māori and female engagement with engineering?

Lydia believes it is important to support Māori female in engineering as it provides representation and different aspects of thinking in the industry. Māori culture has a massive part in New Zealand as well as engineering, so combining both aspects provides more possibilities to improve New Zealand and the people. Female Māori are very unrepresented in engineering which can become discouraging, which is something she wants to change, to prove engineers come in all different types of people and is possible for anyone. With representation with variation, it will dismiss the stereotype of engineers in New Zealand and the world, allowing for problem-solving to be done correctly when it involves different cultures and having the background of knowing the Tikanga of Māori.


What do you do in your free time?

“I am very big into my physical activity, I play netball for my local netball team, and I’ve been playing touch and kī o Rahi for the previous last couple of years. I also work part-time to help support myself during my studies. I have also participated in years of Kapa Haka which I am continuing to support my previous Rōpū. I am also involved in helping support the tangata in my living area in learning about mataariki, helping the coordination of the second year of the Selwyn Maatariki festival.”

Lydia Frater 2

Why did we choose Lydia?

“We had a very strong field of applicants this year and decided to support four students financially but Lydia stood out for a full Whanake multi-year scholarship commitment from HERA. What stood out was her commitment and understanding of her future role as a leader and role model for wahine Māori entering Engineering. She clearly had a commitment to her own future career development, but also to lifting up other women thinking to enter the field, which is what Whanake is all about. I can see so many strong leadership qualities in Lydia and I am so excited for what changes she is going to trailblaze for wahine Māori coming after her.” ~ HERA CEO, Troy Coyle

For us, our Whanake scholarship is one step forward in our journey towards more meaningful engagement with Māori in Engineering. Having Lydia on-board is definitely an exciting opportunity to learn first-hand how we can make more of a difference.

If you’re interested in engaging with the development of our Māori in Engineering program, please don’t hesitate to contact me today!

If you have any Māori employees that you think we should shine a line on, please let us know. Also, if you’d like to create or support a scholarship for Māori in Engineering or Manufacturing, please contact the Māori Education Trust, who’d be happy to manage this for you!