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Source: University of Waikato

This year’s Artemis Scholarship recipient is keen to use her degree to help iwi mitigate negative impacts on the environment as a result of increased development.

Te Riria Potiki (Ngāti Pāhauwera, Ngāi Tahu, Tuhoe) will soon start her third year studying towards a Bachelor of Environmental Planning in the Te Ara Taiao: Māori and the Environment stream. She is also the 2021 recipient of the Artemis Scholarship, worth $7000, in recognition of her excellent grades and commitment to the field of environmental sustainability.

The Artemis Scholarship was set up in 2018 by University of Waikato alumnus Victor Li after he completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Environmental Education. Through his charity, the Artemis Foundation, Victor established the scholarship to encourage students interested in education, business or environmental sustainability, and help alleviate some of the financial hardship students can face with university study.

Te Riria says she’s grateful for the scholarship, not only because it will help financially, and sees it as validation that she is on the right path with her studies.

“I was always interested in science, but once I found geography later in high school I knew I had found something I was passionate about. I was excited to receive the scholarship as it aligns so well with my future goal of working to preserve environmental sustainability.”

Originally from Tūrangi, Te Riria hopes to use the skills she gains in environmental planning to help her iwi and hapū protect and sustain their surrounding environment from the ongoing impacts of urban development.

“Last year I did an internship with a Māori consulting firm and one of the projects we worked on was helping mitigate the environmental impacts of a proposal to discharge waste water into the Rotorua Lakes,” says Te Riria.

“It was really eye-opening and awesome to be a part of the process and see how it works, and because development is only going to continue, it’s really important to work as best as we can to mitigate any potential effect that might have on our environment.”

With two years left of her degree, Te Riria already has an impressive academic resume. A straight A student, she is also a recipient of a Te Paewai o te Rangi Scholarship for outstanding academic achievement, which is awarded to school-leavers who embark on undergraduate study at the University of Waikato.

She is also currently part of the University’s Summer Research Scholarship programme, monitoring changes in algal blooms on Lake Taupō.

Artemis Scholarship founder, Victor Li, says he’s glad to see the scholarship awarded to someone of Te Riria’s calibre.

“Te Riria’s application stood out not only because she is an exceptional student, but she displayed a real commitment to preserving the environment, which is one of the pillars the scholarship was set up upon.

“I congratulate Te Riria on her study efforts so far, and look forward to seeing her achieve well into the future.”

As the scholarship’s recipient, Te Riria will also receive mentoring from the Artemis Foundation.

MIL OSI