50 Woolf Fisher First-in-Family AUT Scholars pave way for change


Fifty young people have become the first in their families to embark on a university education with support from the Woolf Fisher First-in-Family AUT Scholarships.

Thirteen scholars received the award in 2018, the fourth year since this scholarship was introduced at AUT with the goal of breaking down barriers to embarking on degree study that may have restricted family members before them.

Fatu Ki Moana Mahe was among the 2018 scholarship recipients, and says what motivates her to study is thinking about all the people who don’t have the opportunity she has.  “When I received the scholarship, the first thing that came to my mind was that there’s someone out there that believes in someone as little as me.”

While people who have a university education earn a lot more over their working life, the benefits of supporting new generations into university study are much more than financial.

Nadia Liebert was among the first to receive this scholarship and has now graduated from AUT with a Bachelor of Business. “I cried on the phone when I got the call confirming that I received the scholarship! We get amazing support from the scholar support team, and the opportunities that come with a scholarship are awesome – from networking and event invitations to being matched with a mentor.”

People who have degrees are less likely to be unemployed, have better job security, and report that they are happier and healthier.

Tiare Atirai, who also received a scholarship in 2018, said, “There are no limits, age isn’t a limit, ethnicity isn’t a limit, circumstance isn’t a limit, the only limit you have is yourself.”

These scholarships are made possible by the generosity of the Woolf Fisher Trust, and its ongoing commitment to making university education truly accessible.

The late Sir Woolf Fisher

The late Sir Woolf Fisher

A passionate supporter of education in New Zealand. In 1960 Sir Woolf founded the Woolf Fisher Trust for the advancement of scientific and general education in New Zealand through its prestigious fellowships and scholarships. When making these awards, the Trust has always sought to uphold the guiding principles and values of its founder.

The trustees hope that recipients of Woolf Fisher Fellowships and Scholarships will demonstrate some of the qualities which Sir Woolf himself embodied over a long and successful career as an industrial pioneer and leader: integrity, leadership, boldness of vision and exceptional zeal, keenness and capacity for work.

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