The first Alf Rendell photography scholarship has been awarded to a polytechnic student who is "absolutely blown away" to win.

Waiariki Bay of Plenty Polytechnic student and born and bred Tauranga man Richard Robinson received the $2000 scholarship.

Local photographer Alf Rendell, 98, set up the scholarship this year using the proceeds from his book of magnificent aerial photographs of Tauranga from the 1940s and 1950s.

The $51,203 that has been made from the sales of book funds the scholarship, which is annually awarded to a Bachelor of Creative Industries student.


The prize money would help Mr Robinson, 26, kickstart his career as a freelance photographer next year.

Mr Robinson was further stoked to get a personal invitation from Mr Rendell to visit him at home and talk about photography.

"He's amazing, such an awesome gentleman. The book he published of his work is incredible."

Mr Robinson said when he first picked up a camera in 2012 he had no idea what he was doing "but it quickly became my passion."

"I am mainly self-taught. I did a couple classes, a course at Historic Village and after that I just kept on teaching myself."

He began his degree in creative industries in 2014 and was finishing up his final semester.

Mr Robinson preferred to snap events and concerts, and such shots made up the portfolio he submitted for the scholarship application.

There were 13 other applicants who sent in a digital portfolio of seven-ten photos, an explanation, how they saw photography as part of their future career and how they would use the scholarship money.

Wiariki Bay of Plenty Polytechnic programme coordinator for Bachelor of Creative Industries Nicol Sanders-O'Shea said the judging panel was made up of four staff, each of whom put forward three nominations through discussions this was narrowed down to two finalists.

"A unanimous decision was made to award Richard due to his outstanding press photography portfolio and his dedication to photography as his main focus."

Ms Sanders-O'Shea said Mr Robinson's photographs showed patience and persistence.

The photos captured live music performance crowd shots and the performer's emotive expression which was "both poignant and captivating for the viewer."