Helen Clark's inspiring message to two Kiwis who have won a prestigious scholarship

Mahonri Owen, winner of the Rose Hellaby Scholarship, is developing a prosthetic hand that can be controlled by the brain. Photo / Supplied
Mahonri Owen, winner of the Rose Hellaby Scholarship, is developing a prosthetic hand that can be controlled by the brain. Photo / Supplied

United Nations Secretary-General candidate and former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark has sent an inspiring message to two Kiwis who has won a prestigious scholarship.

Erena Wikaire and Mahonri Owen were awarded this year's Rose Hellaby Postgraduate Māori Scholarships.

Owen, 27, is currently studying for a PhD in Engineering at Waikato University where he is developing a prosthetic hand that can be controlled by the brain and perform the basic functions of a human hand.

The technology could be life-changing for those who lose a hand through injury, warfare or illness.

Wikaire, 32, is working towards a Doctorate in public health at Auckland University, where she is focusing on how Māori healing traditions can be used to improve health outcomes for Māori.

Her research was attracting international attention in the field of indigenous healthcare.

Clark sent a special video message to the winners.

"When you receive scholarships like these, there are great expectations of you, from your family, from your peers, from those you educated you. That you will take your skills and talents, take them all away, achieve all your dreams but also hope put something back into the world around you."

Erena Wikaire, winner of the rose Hellaby Scholarship, is studying how traditional Māori healing methods can be used to improve Māori health outcomes. Photo / Supplied.
Erena Wikaire, winner of the rose Hellaby Scholarship, is studying how traditional Māori healing methods can be used to improve Māori health outcomes. Photo / Supplied.

She went on to say she was privileged to have a many education opportunities.

"I'd like to think I have been able to put the skills and talents I have at the service of humanity and to work for a better world. "I truly hope that whatever your chosen field of endeavour, you will take that same attitude and philosophy forward with you.

"You are a Kiwi. Kiwis punch above their weight and you can make a big contribution with your decision, your skills and commitment."

The pair will be formally awarded their $30,000 scholarship on Thursday.

Rose Hellaby Postgraduate Māori Scholarships are available to Māori students undertaking Masters or PhD postgraduate study in the fields of engineering, mathematics, science, technology or medicine.

Perpetual Guardian is the sole trustee and investment manager of the Rose Hellaby Maori Education Fund.

- NZ Herald

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