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Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti

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EIT Tairāwhiti student Kiwi Chambers studying Maara kai (gardening) at the Ruatoria campus is described by her tutors as an “ace” student who gives “more than 100 percent”.

Presented annually to a top horticulture student from the Hawke’s Bay, Tairāwhiti or Ruatoria campuses, the award has tough criteria.

Given to EIT by the Hawke’s Bay Rose Society when it dissolved in 2017 the student awarded receives the annual interest on the investment of approximately $200 as well as the mana from the award. 

The criteria includes an A grade average, 90 percent attendance, consistency, enthusiasm, integrity, leadership, an asset in the classroom and a student who is engaged fully and is a contributor to class interaction.

Kiwi, who signed up for the course last year is humble about winning the award but has plenty to say about doing the course.

Now 29-years-old, she had moved home to Ruatoria in 2017 to look after her dad who was unwell.

“I came back to look after him and last year decided to do the Maara Kai course.”

“Before I did it I didn’t know how to garden and now I know so much. We have learned everything – from planting by the moon to the medicinal properties of certain plants. 

“It has been so cool and I have thoroughly enjoyed doing it. Plants I used to think were weeds, I have found out how to use them.”

She said her tutors Rob Thomson and Lisa Beach were integral in her success.

“They are walking encyclopaedias. I really recommend the course.”

The Maara Kai course is popular on the Ruatoria campus with many students progressing onto the Hemp growing course the following semester.