Scholarship a life-changer

Receiving a BOP Education Trust Scholarship can make the difference between being able to pursue tertiary education or not. 

Scholarship recipient Zaide Farrell
Zaide Farrell, centre, with Tom Beswick, left, and Nick Earl from the Bay of Plenty Education Trust.

Zaide Farrell, who graduated from Katikati College last year, says it was a total game changer for him. He had long wanted to study at university but didn’t think he could afford it. Receiving the scholarship has made a study dream come true.

“I wanted to go to university to pursue these big ideas of mine,” says Zaide who has a yearning to study philosophy and physics. “I thought the opportunity would be taken away from me given my economic situation. But the scholarship has made it all possible, says Zaide, the eldest of five children.

While he’s not sure where the degree will take him job-wise he wishes to “push the boundary between science and the human condition”.

Zaide was one of 21 BOP students to receive scholarships in the latest BOP Education Trust’s Science, Technology and Emerging Industries Scholarship annual round.

All up, the Trust has committed to gifting $126,000 from its coffers in this latest scholarship round.

BOP Education Trust Chairman Nick Earl says the number of recipients to receive the scholarship over the years now stands at 366. The scholarship value has increased over time, with the total amount gifted now nudging the $2 million mark. A total of $1,961,750 has been gifted.

The latest recipients were acknowledged at ceremonies in Whakatane and Mt Maunganui on January 25 and 26, respectively.

The recipients are pursuing a whole raft of tertiary opportunities including medical imaging, sport and exercise, spatial design, philosophy and physics, zoology and engineering.

This year’s other Western Bay of Plenty recipients are: 

Binew Illangamudalige and Kel Iggulden both of Tauranga Boys’ College, Charlie Colquhoun and Nadia Harmine both of Otumoetai College, Eli Samuels of Te Wharekura O Mauao, Emilie Arthur and Tegan Sloan both of Mt Maunganui College, Hannah Mollier of Te Puke High School, Hunter Ririnui and Kennedy de Bono both of Tauranga Girls College,  Henry Ahearn of Bethlehem College, Rachel Shirley of Aquinas College, and Ruby Hugglestone and Jessica Rolleston both of Papamoa College.

This year’s Eastern Bay of Plenty recipients are:

Anchal Sharma and Molly O'Leary both of Whakatane High School, Elizabeth Wilson of Trident High School, Reanna Van Enckevort of Opotiki College, Sophie Wennink of Edgecumbe College, and Tawhirimatea Gerrard-Tai Rakena of Tarawera High School.


EBOP scholarship recipients 

EBOP scholarship recipients available to attend the scholarship presentation ceremony, were, from left to right, Elizabeth Wilson, Reanna Van Enckevort, Molly O’Leary and Anchal Sharma.

WBOP scholarship recipients

BOP Education Trust Chairman Nick Earl, with WBOP scholarship recipients: Back row, from left, Henry Ahearn, Kennedy de Bono, Hunter Ririnui, Emilie  Arthur, Zaide Farrell, Kel Iggulden, Eli Samuels, Charlie Colquhoun. Front row, from left, Ruby Hugglestone, Rachel Shirley, Nadia Harmine, Tegan Sloan, Binew Illangamudalige.

Ambassador and leadership programmes and a job she loves… things going swimmingly for Wednesday Davis.

Leadership Programmes

Imagine being able to call a marine reserve your office.

Such is the case for former Mt Maunganui College student Wednesday Davis. For Wednesday Goat Island Marine Reserve is her primary workspace.

Wednesday’s work involves travelling to low-decile schools throughout Auckland, teaching children about marine biodiversity (and how to take action locally), teaching snorkelling at schools and local pools. She especially loves helping children to experience their marine reserves through local investigations and Goat Island snorkel days.

The journey from crossing the stage as a BOP Education Trust scholarship recipient in 2015 to her current job with non-profit charity Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust (MTSCT) has been hugely interesting.

Wednesday studied at the University of Auckland where she pursued a double major in biological sciences and marine sciences. This was followed by a postgraduate diploma in marine sciences, working towards a Master of Science (MSc) in 2021. 

“For my MSc, I researched the fine-scale foraging behaviours of marine megafauna in Tīkapa Moana - Te Moananui-ā-Toi – the Hauraki Gulf. I used a combination of boat-based behavioural observations, drone imagery and artificial intelligence tools to determine the presence and behaviours of species interacting within multi-species foraging associations (MSFA’s), also known as workups,” she explains. 

“The support of the BOP Education Trust enabled me to live more comfortably during my time at university and enabled me to prioritise my studies,” says a forever-grateful Wednesday.

During her studies she worked in a variety of positions including as an aquarist at Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium.

“My days often included diving in shark tanks, caring for endangered sea turtles, and feeding 200kg stingrays. Working as an aquarist gave me incredible hands-on learning opportunities and helped me develop my marine scientist and diver skills. During my time at Kelly Tarlton's I helped rehabilitate sick and injured green, hawksbill and leatherback sea turtles, including one of the smallest turtles rehabilitated there.”

Other employment while a student included time with MPI’s National Invasive Ant Surveillance Programme, studentship at Auckland Council’s Research Monitoring and Surveillance Unit, Auckland Council/NIWA Marine Ambassador programme, and various research/teaching assistant positions at the University of Auckland.

Since completing her MSs early last year, she has worked with MTSCT sharing marine science with the next generation of children and community groups through accessible classroom learning, education materials and snorkel experiences.  

“Work highlights have included swimming with bottlenose dolphins while taking school students snorkelling at Goat Island and having a work training day at one of the best dive sites in Aotearoa – the Poor Knights Island Marine Reserve.

“One of the most fulfilling parts of my job is the kids – the best way to learn about the ocean is to get in there, and their excitement and big smiles are a testament to that. Many of the kids we work with don’t know how to swim and have never been snorkelling before, let alone been to visit a marine reserve,” Wednesday shares.

Other life highlights include being selected for the BLAKE Ambassador Programme which gives young NZers the opportunity to take part in important science and conservation projects in New Zealand.

Wednesday spent time in Dunedin and the Catlins participating in programmes that involved working with hoiho/yellow-eyed penguins and rāpoka/New Zealand sea lions.

“This was a truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I was incredibly grateful to be selected for, it helped to advance my understanding of some of the big questions and challenges facing the environment and developed my leadership capability to drive positive change in the conservation space,” an enthused Wednesday shares.

In 2021 she was also selected for a Kupe Leadership Programme. This programme offers opportunities for personal development and growth alongside postgraduate study for students who care deeply about New Zealand and have a strong desire to serve.

“This leadership programme allowed me to decolonise my leadership, go on a hikoi to discover my ‘why’ and opened doors and opportunities that would not have otherwise been possible,” Wednesday says.

The same year she was selected as a YWCA Y25 Programme member, recognised as a young woman (under 25) doing incredible things in New Zealand.

“I was selected for this for my work advocating for marine conservation and passion for marine conservation, education and sustainability.”

Wednesday has shared links for other alumni to check out if they may be interested in applying for any of those programmes. They are as follows:

BLAKE Ambassador Programme

Kupe Leadership Scholarships

Y25 Programme

Learn more about Wednesday's work

Trust extends its outreach

The Bay of Plenty Education Trust continues to expand the way in which it helps young people.

The Trust has introduced supplementary grants that are benefitting an increasing range of projects. All are focused on supporting the region’s youth.

Close to $30,000 was issued in supplementary grants last year - just over half of that to the Graeme Dingle Foundation to assist two Year 10 students in their endeavours to complete their Project K programmes. The remainder was allocated to supporting three young people on the Youth Encounter Programme.

The Trust introduced the supplementary grants in 2021, with the first recipient being ICONZ – an organisation focused on building resilience, self-worth and self-belief in young people, as well as a better attitude toward school, life, learning and school attendance.

Trust Chairperson Nick Earl says the Trust is always open to considering other agencies and organisations to support, whether by way of sponsorship or in partnership with other parties. Its area of support covers the coastal Bay of Plenty stretching from Katikati down to Opotiki. Alumni with suggestions regarding worthy recipients can contact

Nick says the supplementary grants recognise that not all students have the ability to necessarily excel in the academic arena.

“Some need a different sort of helping hand, for example a way to broaden their opportunities and horizons.

“The Graeme Dingle Foundation, for example, helps empower students to overcome life’s obstacles. The Young Encounter Programme aims to give young people a sense of belonging that empowers them to live life to the fullest and to focus forward with hope in their future,” he says.

Check out our Spring enewsletter to discover the next lot of supplementary grant recipients. They will be announced on June 1.

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