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Inaugural recipient of Ebba Te Tua Scholarship Announced

Generus Living Group and its partner Mangatawa Pāpāmoa Blocks Incorporation (MPBI) who operate Pacific Coast and Pacific Lakes Villages, have named an inaugural scholarship recipient, displaying their commitment to furthering Māori education.

The scholarship illustrates how this unique partnership continues to collaborate and create value within the community. In honour of respected teacher and kuia Ebba Te Tua who taught at Arataki School in Mount Maunganui for nearly 30 years, the Ebba Te Tua Scholarship gives Māori students the opportunity to train as primary school teachers.

The annual scholarship supports the professional and educational development of Mangatawa descendants and shareholders who have chosen to pursue a career in primary education and are committed to the revitalisation of Te Reo Māori. The inaugural recipient, Rachel Ngawara Bennion, has been granted the scholarship to support her studies and future teaching career. Enrolling in a Bachelor of Teaching Primary, Mixed Media Presentation at the University of Waikato, Rachel wants to immerse herself in both learning and teaching Te Reo Māori.

“I’ve spent 11 years working in admin roles at Forest View High School in Tokoroa and have wanted to move into teaching for a while. When my dad passed away, I knew I wanted to change my life, so I started looking at options in the teaching industry,” Rachel says. After hearing about the shortage of Te Reo Māori teachers, Rachel realised she could turn her personal passion into a career and support others in learning Te Reo Māori.

“I want to have an impact on the students that come my way and revitalise Te Reo Māori. This opportunity gives me the chance to not only help students but to grow in my personal life, so that I can understand the language of my ancestors,” Rachel explains.

“Te Reo teachers are extremely rare. This is the first time in six years that we have had a Te Reo teacher at Forest View High School. I would love to be the next one and help to bridge that gap. “I feel absolutely elated to be given this opportunity. I am so grateful, relieved, and touched as these things don’t usually happen to me. I was with my mum when I found out and I just started crying. Even now I get emotional. I know this opportunity wouldn’t be available without Ebba, so I am completely honoured to be able to carry on this legacy.”

While MBPI offers several education grants to its shareholders and descendants, this is the first scholarship offered together with Generus Living Group [through Pacific Coast and Pacific Lakes Villages partnerships]. Scott Wikohika, General Manager of MPBI, says the Ebba Te Tua scholarship will help create opportunities and pave the way for future generations. “The legacy left by our kuia is one that will be etched in the hearts and minds of future generations of our shareholders and beneficiaries. We wish this year’s recipient all the best on their journey and will be following their progress closely,” he says.

Director of Generus Living Group, Graham Wilkinson, says the company’s business model has always been to work with community, and the scholarship is just one of the ways that Generus delivers benefits to the communities in which it operates. “The unique partnership that we have formed with MPBI is committed to recognising and celebrating the mana whenua (indigenous people of the land) in a meaningful way and the Ebba Te Tua Scholarship helps us accomplish this goal,” says Graham.

Generus and Mangatawa have worked together for almost a decade in developing first Pacific Coast Village and secondly Pacific Lakes. The arrangements between the partners are seen as marriages of experience and capital with land and tradition, with the goal of improving the financial outcomes for Mangatawa and delivering benefits into the future.

“We see many economic benefits and opportunities, particularly around training and employment, with large staffing requirements in the near term at the partnership's two villages in Tauranga,” says Graham. Pacific Coast Village resident, Peter Clark, who was principal of Arataki School from 1995-2001, describes the Ebba Te Tua scholarship as “just marvellous” and says the link between Generus Living Bay of Plenty villages and the local Māori community is “special.”

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