At HERA we have a real commitment to help our members address the challenges that are facing them. One we hear often is the skills gap which is hindering our members from delivering what’s in their pipeline – particularly as we look to the future.

As a research association, it’s often hard to find a mechanism which sits within our remit to assist with this issue – but we’ve excited to say we’ve found one!

We’d like to announce the creation of Whanake – a HERA scholarship, in collaboration with the Māori Education Trust.

This aligns with our core target to extend our industry’s capacity by creating a more diverse and attractive industry to work within.

The future should be diverse

To further our aim to strengthen and extend our industry’s capacity, this scholarship is targeted to a female Māori student in their first year of a four-year Bachelor of Engineering degree (B.E ., or B.Eng).  The scholarship comprises of an annual scholarship award of $5,000 and a paid summer internship (with HERA) over four years.

There is compelling evidence of the importance of diversity – particularly in Governance and leadership. But we won’t get diversity at these levels if we don’t get diversity amongst those coming through at the starting levels. We also see this as a crucial step in our commitments towards The Diversity Agenda #20for2021

Whanake is a te reo Māori verb meaning to:

  • Move onwards or upwards;
  • Grow;
  • Rise up; and
  • Develop


We think it’s meaning is apt – and we see this growth and development going both ways. We’ll benefit from co-operating with the student in practical ways, and the student receives a yearly internship opportunity in return.


This will be a partnership

We’ve been thinking for some time on how to improve the attractiveness of our industry to future employees. It’s certainly a complex issue that needs to be approached from many angles. But we firmly believe our Whanake Scholarship is one way that we can work towards a more diverse and appealing industry.

We recognise that we don’t have a plan for improved engagement with potential Māori engineers and even more so – female ones. Creation of this scholarship is a first step toward developing a more comprehensive and multi-faceted strategy.

What we can see is that someone from our target audience for this scholarship will be perfect to lead the development of such a scheme, and give us a greater chance of success. That’s why we’re keen for the scholarship to be a collaborative partnership, with the recipient acting as a role-model and mentor to young Māori considering a career in engineering.


How will it work?

In order to be eligible for consideration, applicants must:

  • be of New Zealand Māori descent;
  • be enrolled at a New Zealand tertiary institute in 2019;
  • be attending full-time study for the full year;
  • meet the criteria for the scholarships applied for; and
  • submit the application and supporting documentation on time.


Applicants for the Whanake – HERA Scholarship (undergraduate) must:

  • be in their first year of a four-year Bachelor of Engineering degree; and
  • must meet the contracted scholarship conditions.

This is a fantastic opportunity for our industry to proactively start to address the skills gap, by making it clear that we’re looking to facilitate stronger relationships with our future engineers.

We’d like to encourage all of our members to share this opportunity within your relevant networks.

Applications must reach the Māori Education Trust by 4.30 pm, Friday, 26 Paenga-whāwhā (April) 2019.