Lily Sanson

HERA Whanake Scholarship Recipient 2020 | University of Canterbury, Civil Engineering

Tēnā koutou,

Ko Tākitimu te waka,

Ko Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Kuia, Ngāti Apa, Rangitāne ngā iwi,

Ko te Atua o Taiehu te maunga,

Ko Ōtākou te awa,

Ko Ōtākou te marae,

Ko Stephen Sanson rāua,

Ko Cathy Prior ōku mātua,

Ko Lily Sanson ahau nō reira tēnā koutou


Kia ora! I’m a graduate from Palmerston North Girls’ High School who is now at the University of Canterbury studying a Bachelor of Civil Engineering (Honours).

I’m also proud to be a graduate of the Pūhoro STEM Academy. Being honoured as one of fifteen New Zealand Year 12 and 13 students to take part in their Āmua Ao 2018 Houston Experience. In this program we met Pūhoro Ambassador Mana Vautier who hosted us at the NASA Johnson Space Centre, and partook in the International FIRST Robotic competition, Museum of Natural Science, Lone Star Flight Museum and other various STEM activities.

I’ve also interned as a scholarship recipient at Ag Research with Senior Scientist Adrian Cookson – conducting molecular analysis of the E. coli isolated from environmental samples.

I’m very excited to receive the Whanake Scholarship. To me, engineering includes problem solving, creative thinking and applying new technology and ideas to the world around us. But, engineering has traditionally had very low women and Māori representation, and it’s something I’m passionate about being a part of changing. In the future I hope to become a Māori female leader who helps to positively influence our tamariki (children) into being involved in science and technology and create opportunities in this space through innovation for women.