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Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti

4 mins ago

Originally from Gisborne, Serenity Hemaloto-Ngatu moved to Napier to study.

EIT is excited to announce that Serenity Hemaloto-Ngatu (Ngāti Porou) has won the 2021 Margaret Hetley scholarship. The scholarship worth $2,500 was named in memory of Mrs Margaret Hetley, who gifted the land on which EIT is located for the purpose or tertiary education in the region. The panel was impressed by the high quality of this year’s entries but agreed the Serenity’s application stood out.

Serenity, who is of Māori and Tongan descent, is a first-year Bachelor of Creative Practice (visual art) student. After graduating from Gisborne Girls’ High School last year, the 18-year old decided to move to Napier to pursue her studies.

When Serenity heard the good news, she couldn’t believe her ears, she says, “I was actually freaking out. This scholarship is such a big thing and helps me pay for my accommodation here in Napier.”

Her referees describe her as an independent thinker. Her out-of-the-box ideas allow her to set and achieve specific artistic goals. In 2020, she received the inaugural “She Shed” art scholarship awarded by the local She Shed artist group. Serenity is also known for her well-established work ethic, strong photographic and sculptural abilities.

Serenity says she has always been creative. Her parents, in particular her artistic mother, nurtured her ambitions to be an artist. Her parents also strongly encouraged her to move to Napier. “My thinking has always been a little bit different. I was never shy to express myself through painting, digital art, photography, and sculpting.”

“It’s great how EIT allows me to expand my artistic knowledge, improve my art and explore different art styles. Every day, I feel excited to come to class. It’s awesome to get so much support and constructive feedback from my lecturers, and bounce ideas around with others.”

Serenity’s short-term goal is to pass her exams, she says, but her long-term goal is way more ambitious. “I want to make a living from being an independent artist. My dream is to start an art business in the community. I would love to help young people to express themselves creatively, and find new ways to spread the word about New Zealand art.”

Although she says she was very nervous leaving Gisborne behind, she wouldn’t want it any other way. ”My message is, just go for it. You might struggle a little bit at the beginning, but you can reach out to tutors and friends. You are not alone.”