We’re excited to announce that Tom is one of our recipients of the HERA Whanake Scholarship!


Kia ora tātou
Ko Te Arawa te waka
Ko Tuwharetoa te Iwi
Ko Turamkina te hapu
Ko Waihi te Marae
Ko Tongariro te maunga
Ko Tongariro te awa
Kō Palmerston North ahau
Ko Tom Tamaira tōku ingoa

2023 Whanake Scholarship Recipient, Tom Tamaira

What’s your background?

“Kia ora, my name is Tom, and I come from Palmerston North. I attended Palmerston North Boys’ High School, where I nurtured my passion for problem-solving and science. Currently, I am in my first year of the Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) programme at the University of Auckland. Being Māori, my cultural background is a source of pride and inspiration for me. Embracing my cultural values and perspectives has enriched my educational journey and shaped my aspirations in engineering.

My mum has been my unwavering support throughout my academic journey. With her background as a secondary school teacher, she understands the value of education and has consistently encouraged me to pursue excellence. Her belief in my abilities and dedication to continuous learning have played a pivotal role in driving my determination to excel in my studies. Her guidance and love have been instrumental in shaping my aspirations and fostering my academic growth.”


Where are you studying?

“The University of Auckland.”


Why Engineering?

“I chose engineering because of my deep interest in technology and its potential to solve real-world problems. The challenge of integrating software and electrical systems to innovate within fields like construction and manufacturing is what excites me. Engineering is not just a field of study; it’s a platform that enables me to bring creative solutions to life, impacting businesses and consumers in meaningful ways.”


What are your current aspirations?

“My immediate goal is to deepen my engineering expertise, drawing on my internship experience at Hexion to contribute to the heavy engineering sector. I aim to start my own venture in the future, focusing on utilising various technologies to enhance manufacturing processes. My vision is to create solutions that address the challenges facing these industries, driving efficiency and sustainability through innovation.”


What does receiving Whanake mean to you? How does it affect your study?

“Whanake provides invaluable support for my engineering studies while celebrating my Māori cultural heritage. This scholarship’s financial assistance allows me to pursue my passion for engineering without financial constraints. Additionally, it opens doors to the exciting internships that HERA offers, where I can apply my skills and gain practical experience in the industry.”


What do you associate with heavy engineering and metals-based engineering?

“The design and construction of robust structures and machinery using various metals and alloys.”


Why do you think it is important to have more Māori in engineering?

“Having more Māori representation in engineering is crucial for fostering diversity and inclusivity within the field. Māori perspectives bring unique insights and innovative approaches to problemsolving, ultimately leading to more culturally relevant and sustainable solutions that benefit both Māori communities and society at large. Additionally, increasing Māori participation in engineering empowers younger generations, breaking down barriers and inspiring them to pursue careers in STEM fields, driving positive change and progress for future generations.”


What do you like to do in your free time?

“In my free time, I manage my business and work on personal software projects. Skiing and skateboarding are also favourite activities of mine, as I enjoy adventure and spending time outdoors.”


Why did we choose Tom?

Tom was chosen as a recipient of the HERA Wanake scholarship based on his exceptional academic achievements and his clear vision for the future. His receipt of the Nodero award for being the top student in Level 3 Digital Technology at Palmerston North Boys High School, combined with his active participation in the Pūhoro STEM Academy, demonstrated his passion for technology and innovation. Moreover, his ambition to develop his own company in New Zealand after university showcased his entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to contributing to the local economy. Tom’s impressive accomplishments and future goals made him a deserving candidate for the HERA Wanake scholarship.

If you are intrested to read more about HERA’s Whanake Scholarship, click here.