A new Cultural and Heritage scholarship under the New Zealand Transport Agency will encourage more descendants of Waikato-Tainui to pursue studies in archaeology. The announcement was marked at the sod turning ceremony recognising a relationship between NZTA and the local iwi.
The turning of the soil by the Māori King’s Son and the Crown, has signalled a new initiative between them.
Chair of Te Arataura, Rahui Papa said, “This scholarship has been established to assist our people into tertiary studies in the areas of archaeology and Māori Cultural heritage.
It's a project that's strongly endorsed by the both the Local Iwi Group and NZTA.
Leader of the Local Iwi Group Moko Tauariki says, “This is a great scholarship, that we’ve been collaborating together with NZTA.”
And the Minister of NZTA, Hon Simon Bridges, says his hopes is that this going to be a great opportunity for young people in this area to get a sense of heritage, of planning, of archaeology.
Waikato-Tainui and the NZTA have been deliberating the project for the last four years and what they realised is aren't many of their own, specialising in this field of work.
Rahui Papa says they don't have many archaelogists and Māori heritage experts.
And so it's hoped that the wider community and country will benefit from this initiative. Bridges says that the initiative will help us ultimately as New Zealanders to understand when we do massive projects like this, the significance of what we're doing, they'll be able to plan in a more appropriate way.
$250,000 has been gifted by NZTA for the scholarship, which will go a long way towards ensuring the people can preserve their sacred and treasured places for future generations.