A former Tauranga high school student has been awarded a scholarship for Cambridge University valued at close to $70,000 per year.
Benjamin Adams, Tauranga Boys' College dux for 2020, has been awarded the 2021 Girdler's Scholarship and he becomes the 57th Kiwi student to receive it.
Adams will use the scholarship to study for a Master's in engineering, specialising in energy sustainability.
"My passion for climate change comes from my love of my country. It is both disturbing and motivating to see the deterioration of our beautiful landscape," he said.
"I believe that improving the efficiency of alternative energy sources, such as hydrogen fuel, could become commercially viable, lessening the need to pollute the environment in favour of economic growth.
"My goals for my career see me working in sustainable energy solutions, and attempting to mitigate the unwinnable trade-off between economy and environment."
One of Adams' teachers last year described him as having achieved academically as much as there is available at secondary school, with close to a perfect record in Excellence credits across the 333 attempted at all levels.
Adams also received an A+ grade in the four university papers he sat in 2020: mathematics, economics, physics, and chemistry.
Adams plays squash at a national level and is also keen to pursue it at Cambridge.
"The University of Cambridge is the perfect fit for me ... with its highly regarded reputation in engineering," he said.
"I also consider the university's sports programme to be a great opportunity for me to develop my squash abilities further."
The scholarship is administered by Universities New Zealand and is funded by The Worshipful Company of Girdlers.
The company offers only one scholarship each year to a New Zealand student to undertake a degree at Cambridge University.
On behalf of the company, Past Master Lord Strathalmond said they were delighted to award Adams the scholarship.
"The company is delighted to award Benjamin this scholarship, as he embodies the qualities we seek and will be studying such a critical and contemporary subject in the need to tackle climate change," Strathalmond said.
"We will watch his progress with interest, both academic and sporting, and support him during his time at Cambridge."
Valued at £35,000 (NZ$68,595) per year, the scholarship will contribute to Adams' university and college fees, and living costs while studying.
The scholarship is open to Year 13 secondary school students who have attended a secondary school in New Zealand and are New Zealand citizens or have permanent resident status.
In addition to this scholarship, Universities New Zealand dishes out around 40 other undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships each year.