2016 Kupe Scholars

2016 Kupe Scholars 

Congratulations to the 2016 Kupe Scholars.

The 2016 Kupe Scholars are highly talented Māori and Pasifika people who have leadership expertise, and who will be role models of the teaching profession in their communities. These 30 Scholars are high achievers who have the potential to make a real contribution to their student’s long term success.

To find out more about the 2016 Kupe Scholars read the short biographies below.

   Amanda Kirk    Mosese Uhila
   D'Arcy Pomare    Ngawai Toka
   Desma Koia    Patrick Mose
   Fredrick Simpson    Rhema Jakeman
   Hailey McLean    Salamasina Leilua
   Jane Caffery    Seteuati Tulafono-Nofoaiga     
   Joseph Katene    Siona Tesese
   Kerrian Duff    Suit-Keen Kovati
   Kiriwera Nepia-Su'a    Tautuimoana Toleafoa
   Lanne Wade-Jensen    Te Wairere Ngaia
   Lionel Skipper    Te Whaiwhaia Ritchie
   Matani Fakatotua-Schaaf           Te Whare Kotua Hare
   Merimoana Kenrick    Theresa Tuli
   Mieke Elkington
   Zivana Eriha
   Moana Tautua


Amanda Kirk, BA ATCL (Dip.), Mt Eden, Auckland University
Tainui, Waiohua, Ngāpuhi

Music is one of Amanda’s passions. After teaching music to young children, she discovered a love of teaching. She is a former violinist and solo vocalist with the Aotea Youth Symphony and a former singer with the NZ Opera Chorus. As an opera singer, she has performed alongside Dame Malvina Major, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, and sung in choirs for the Andrea Bocelli concert and Rugby World Cup in New Zealand some years ago. She is studying towards a Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Primary).


D’Arcy Pomare, BMM, Hamilton, Waikato University
Ngāpuhi, Tainui

D’Arcy is completing a Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Secondary). With two years of formal secondary teaching under his belt, D’Arcy has taught at Te Wānanga o Raukawa and Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Whangaroa. He holds a Bachelor of Mātauranga Māori, plus qualifications in computing, animation, design and horticulture.


Desma Koia, Rotorua, University of Canterbury
Ngāti Awa, Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Porou

Desma received a Rotorua Young Achiever Award in 2011 for outstanding leadership in school and community. During her second year of the Bachelor of Teaching and Learning (Primary) programme, Canterbury University’s Vice-Chancellor invited Desma to join an international society for high-achieving students. Away from the classroom, the sports field is Desma’s second home, having played and refereed touch rugby and netball.


Fredrick Simpson, BSci (Physics), Mt Wellington, University of Auckland
Fijian Tongan

Recently graduated with a Bachelor of Science, majoring in physics, Fredrick is currently completing a Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Primary). In the past, he has helped out after school and school holiday programmes in South Auckland primary schools including Rongomai and Flatbush. With the support of his wife, he juggles full-time study with life as a young adult pastor to 18 to 30 year olds at his local church.


Hailey McLean, Whakatāne, Te Whare Wānanga o Awainuiārangi
Tūhoe, Ngāi Tahu

A love for children and a passion for excellent teaching have come together for this Eastern Bay of Plenty high achiever. Part of the inspiration behind Hailey’s decision to become a teacher is her father who teaches Māori Studies, and is the Head of Department, at Whakatane’s Trident High School. She is completing a Bachelor of Education (Primary Teaching) degree.

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Jane Caffery, BSW, Hamilton, Waikato University
Tainui, Ngāa Puhi

Education has transformed Jane’s life as a second chance learner to become a high-achieving scholar. Founder of a clothing bank in her local community, it has provided essential clothing and necessities to local families. She holds a Bachelor in Social Work degree and trained as a personal trainer. She is now completing two masters degrees, one at Waikato University and the other at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa. A busy mother, she hopes to teach in a primary school.


Joseph Katene, BCom, Hamilton, Waikato University
Ngāti Toa

Joseph is a former Māori All Black who has played representative rugby for Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Canterbury. Off the field, Joseph was an accountant as a tax consultant for a large corporation and in private consultancy. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Canterbury University and has a passion for lifting financial literacy. He is completing a Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Secondary) and hopes to be an accounting and business studies teacher.


Kerrian Duff, Turangi, Waikato University
Ngāti Tuwharetoa

One of the major influences in Kerrian’s life has been growing up under the mantle of the Arikitanga of Ngāti Tūwharetoa. The leadership styles of both Tā Hepi and Tā Tumu Te Heuheu have had a huge impact on her outlook on life. They set out to listen to the dreams and aspirations of the people of Ngāti Tūwharetoa. Education was identified as a key priority for the people to be strong in two worlds, in Mātauranga o Tūwharetoa and in mainstream education. Kerrian is an active member of her iwi, involved in event management at marae, hapū, iwi, national and international level. She is currently studying towards a Bachelor of Teaching (Primary).


Kiriwera Nepia-Su’a, BSpLS, Kilbirnie, Victoria University
Rongowhakaata, Ngāti Porou, Samoan, Niuean

A keen sportswoman, particularly in netball, Kiriwera has a strong background in sports and a passion for healthy living. Her biggest inspiration to become a teacher came from her Samoan father Jeremy Su’a and his example as a passionate and caring teacher. She is currently studying towards a Masters of Teaching and Learning. A senior kapa haka member of Tu Te Manawa Maurea, she is also passionate about te reo Māori.


Lanne Wade-Jensen, Rotorua, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa
Ngati Tūwharetoa, Tuhourangi, Tūhoe

A proud mother of four tamariki, two boys and two girls, aged 10 to 18 , Lanne is raising her achievers singlehandedly. Until she became a full-time student, Lanne worked as Literacy Support Worker at Rotorua’s Western Heights High Akoranga Unit and junior mainstream classes. It’s given her firsthand experience of classroom teaching in literacy and numeracy, particularly for Māori tama ma. She is currently studying towards a Bachelor of Education (Primary).

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Lionel Skipper, BA, Waitara, Massey University
Te Atiawa, Taranaki

After living in Japan for a number of years, Lionel has returned to New Zealand. A diverse working background, he brings unique educational experience working in prisons as a head facilitator for Te Rakau Hua o Te Wao Tapu, the Māori theatre educational company led by actor Jim Moriarty. He is studying towards a Graduate Diploma Teaching (Secondary).


Matani Fakatotua Schaaf, PhD Candidate, BA (Hons), Dunedin, Otago University

Matani will graduate with a doctorate in December 2016, having successfully completed his PhD thesis on motivation and burnout among Pacific professional rugby players. He is a rugby coach for the forwards for Otago’s John McGlashan College, a boys college.

Matani is currently completing a Masters of Teaching and Learning. Fluent in te reo Māori and his native Tongan, Matani has taught both languages at community night classes. He is actively involved as a leader and participant in Dunedin’s cultural and religious life, including his wife’s Samoan community. He is passionate about students leaving his classroom with a love of learning. As an educator, he values continuous personal and professional development and he would like to teach mathematics and te reo Māori at secondary school. Matani completed his PhD at Te Tumu School of Māori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies at Otago University.


Merimoana Kenrick, BA, Bayswater, Auckland, Massey University
Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāi Tahu, Muaupoko

After a career in the navy, and with a Bachelor of Arts degree, Merimoana is inspired to become a teacher. A Duke of Edinburgh awards recipient in bronze and silver, she was also awarded the Dux Award in the Royal NZ Navy communications branch. Fluent in te reo Māori, she has experience as a relieving teacher at bilingual and Māori medium schools. She is studying towards a Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Primary).


Mieke Elkington, BSc, Te Awamutu, Waikato University
Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Koata, Ngāti Toa

After studying under a basketball scholarship at an American university for five years and graduating in the USA with a Bachelor of Science, Mieke has now returned to New Zealand. She is completing a Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Primary).


Moana Tautua, Mangere, Auckland, University of Auckland
Ngāti Porou, Te Whānau-ā-Apanui, Cook Islands. 

With a news industry background working for MediaWorks and Chong Newztel (now Isentia), Moana is now pursuing her two greatest passions: mathematics and te reo Māori.

Studying full-time in the Bachelor of Education (Primary) degree programme, this high achiever has been top of class across her teaching programme for all Auckland university campuses in her second year. As a result she was awarded the Dean’s Award 2016 for Top of Programme and the University of Auckland First in Course Award. Plus, the Dean’s Award 2016 for Top Māori Student in the entire university programme for the second year. In her first year, Moana was awarded the University of Auckland High Achievers Initiative.

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Mosese Uhila, BPSA (Performing & Screen Arts), Mangere Bridge, Auckland

Mosese is a member of the performing arts group named Tongan Creatives (T.C). He holds a Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts from UNITEC. With a deep appreciation for his Tongan culture and language, Mosese has taught and facilitated creative workshops in areas of dance, music and drama. He aims to use these skills as a mechanism to inspire youth in both community and school environments. He is now completing a Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Primary).


Ngawai Toka, BEd, Huntly, Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi
Waikato Tainui 

A former kōhanga reo student, Ngawai now works as a kaiako (teacher) at Te Kōhanga Reo o Raahui Pokeka. She is passionate about early childhood education and holds a Bachelor of Education and qualifications in te reo Māori. She is currently studying towards her second degree, a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education.


Patrick Mose, BA (Hons), New Windsor, University of Auckland

Since majoring in political studies for his honours degree more than a decade ago, he’s inspired to become a teacher and is now completing a Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Secondary). Former Marketing Advisor (Pacific) at UNITEC and active in his Church, he has engaged with young people regularly through community events. He’s also a singer, songwriter and band leader that won the Gospel music awards category in the Pacific Music Awards.


Rhema Jakeman, BA, Waiuku, Waikato University
Waikato, Ngāti Pikiao, Te Wai Ariki

Possessing a great love for music, Rhema has been involved in choir, school productions and tutoring piano and guitar students. Rhema’s other passion is tutoring kapa haka and te reo Māori. She has completed exams for piano, classical guitar, singing and speech and drama through Trinity College (London), the New Zealand School of Music and the Australian Music Examination Board. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Waikato and is now completing a Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Primary).


Salamasina Leilua, BSci (Zoology), Howick, University of Auckland
Samoan, European, Māori

With a family involved in the Pacific arts media scene, she breaks the mould with a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Zoology, from Otago University. She has since added to her technical qualifications with certificates in finfish culture (ornamental and farmed fish) and companion animal services. Completing a Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Secondary), Salamasina’s dream is to be a science teacher and a mentor for Pacific students.

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Seteuati Tulafono-Nofoaiga, M.Ed, BA, Dip Ed, Lower Hutt, Victoria University

Tulafono-Nofoaiga is studying towards a Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Secondary) in New Zealand. He has worked as a translator and is a member of the New Zealand Translation and Interpretation Services. He studied at the National University of Samoa where he graduated with a Diploma in Education and a Bachelor of Arts (English). At Melbourne’s Victoria University, he gained a Master of Education. Upon graduation, Tulafono-Nofoaiga plans to teach at secondary level.


Siona Tesese, Papatoetoe, University of Auckland

Representative rugby league player for Auckland and Counties Manukau from the Under 16s to the Premier level. Off the field, Siona’s studying towards a Bachelor of Physical Education (Secondary). He’s helped out at a homework centre in Otara and currently helps to lead a senior leadership programme called Enable at Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate. In another life, Siona was a baritone barbershop singer. Originally from Papatoetoe, he hopes to teach in his local South Auckland community.


Suit-Keen Kovati, Waiuku, Waikato University
New Zealand-born Samoan

Former Auckland retail store manager and mother of two boys, Suit-Keen is following her passion to teach children. Re-training to be a school teacher by studying towards a Bachelor of Teaching degree at Waikato. She completed an AFS student exchange to Denmark during her high school years.


Tautuimoana Toleafoa, BSR, Dip SR, Wiri, Auckland University of Technology

A love for sports saw Moana win sportswoman awards in her Year 9 and Year 10 at Otahuhu College and at James Cook High School’s teen parent unit. She recently completed a Bachelor of Sports and Recreation degree. Fluent in Samoan and English, she spent part of her education in Samoa attending Samoa College and the National University of Samoa. In Auckland, she coaches touch rugby for the Papatoetoe High School Girls First 15 and is a church youth leader at Papatoetoe EFKS denomination. Her challenging experiences as a teen parent instilled within her a resolve to complete her education and follow her dreams. She is now completing a Graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching.


Te Wairere Ngaia, BCS (Hons), BCS, Hamilton, Waikato University
Waikato-Maniapoto, Taranaki

Te Wairere represented New Zealand as a paddler in the Under-16 Junior Women’s Waka Ama competitions. A Sir Edmund Hillary Scholar, Te Wairere holds two bachelor degrees: a Bachelor of Communications degree majoring in management communication and Māori language, plus a First Class Honours degree Bachelor of Communications Studies. She is now pursuing a career in teaching secondary school, studying for a Graduate Diploma in Teaching.

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Te Whaiwhaia Ritchie, PGDip (Psych) BSpLS, Raglan, Waikato University
Ngāti Kahungunu (ki Wairarapa), Ngāti Kahukuraawhitia, Ngāti Moe 

Currently completing a Master of Teaching and Learning at Waikato University, Te Whaiwhaia holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Psychology, plus a Bachelor Degree in Sports and Leisure Studies from Waikato. He has been a tutor at Waikato University and St Peter’s College, Cambridge. Educated at kōhanga reo and kura primary, Te Whaiwhaia speaks te reo Māori fluently. After a few years overseas, he has returned to New Zealand.


Te Whare Kotua Morrison-Hare, BA (Hons) Rotorua, Waikato University
Te Arawa, Tūhoe, Ngāti Maniapoto

Immersed in Te Ao Māori since birth, Te Whare Kotua is a senior member of Te Mātārae I Ōrehu, the outstanding kapa haka group, who placed second in the country at last year’s Te Matatini competitions. His passion for teaching and helping youth succeed in education is largely inspired by the influence of his renowned mother, Taini Morrison, one of Māoridom’s legendary kapa haka leaders and a primary school teacher. He is completing a Graduate Diploma of Teaching Secondary.


Theresa Tuli, BA (Psychology & Pacific Studies), Favona, University of Auckland

After working as a teacher aide for Otara’s Yendarra Primary, Theresa realised she wanted to be a teacher. Outside of the classroom, she is a popular Tongan dance tutor who has taught school groups vying for a Polyfest placing. She is also involved with the Tongan Catholic Latakic Youth Group. Currently completing a Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Primary).


Zivana Eriha, Otaki, Te Wānanga o Raukawa
Ngāti Raukawa

Zivana’s goal is to complete a bachelor’s degree in full immersion te reo Māori and become a primary teacher. Fully bilingual in te reo Māori and English, she has helped at kohanga reo and held leadership roles in kura (school).

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