Gantugs Monkhor left his home in rural Mongolia last year to study nursing at Whanganui UCOL.

He was one of four students to receive a second semester scholarship last week and spoke on behalf of students in both English and Te Reo Maori.

Whanganui MP Chester Borrows, who was the welcoming speaker at the awards ceremony spoke about young people who come to New Zealand and learn skills to benefit their communites back home.

"I met a young woman from a small Pacific Island where cataract operations could be performed for very low cost but it was still unaffordable for people in her village.

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"She came here and established a cosmetics company and her profits went to help pay for cataract operations," said Mr Borrows.

The Arthur Wheeler Leedstown Trust awarded scholarships to Mr Monkhor and fellow bachelor of nursing student Symmone Yates.

UCOL campus manager Bronwyn Paul said Ms Yates worked with at risk children in a decile 1 school in Auckland before she started her training.

Hamish MacKay who presented the scholarships on behalf of the trust said Arthur Wheeler was a farmer who wanted to support education for "young tall poppies."

The trust that Mr Wheeler established 50 years ago with just £5000 is now worth two and a half million dollars and Mr MacKay said the growth illustrates why people should join Kiwisaver.

"You hardly notice the money missing from your income after a while and it can grow into a sizeable fund by the time you retire."

Des Warahi presented scholarship awards to Bachelor of Design and Arts student Sarah Bolland and Health and Science student Rachel Pirere on behalf of Akoranga Education Trust.

"I have read your profiles and you two are amazing," he said.

Mr Warahi said he was a past recipient of a scholarship himself and thought it an honour to present awards to others.

"I had two young children when I was studying so I know it can be a struggle," he said.

Councillor Helen Craig concluded the formal part of the awards by saying that she is also a former UCOL student having completed a fine arts degree there.

"Study is expensive and it would be fantastic if UCOL could offer fees-free courses," she said.

"It's a tall order but something to strive towards."

Friends and whanau joined students, staff and guests for refreshments in the atrium afterwards.