When Tabitha Kaiser found out her dance-loving daughter Libby had been awarded one of 21 scholarships from a Whangārei dance academy, she felt relieved.

"It's just that helping hand. It makes it easier for me to give my girls, and my boy, the opportunities that I want to give them," she said.

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This year Whangārei Academy of Dance and Performing Arts were able to give 21 dancers scholarships which range in value from $200 to $1200 thanks to donations totalling $10,000.


Kaiser said Libby, 11, had been dancing at WADPA since she was 3 and her younger sister Harper, 4, also dances at the academy.

She said without the scholarship it cost about $1000 a year.

"It's really expensive. We're two working parents in our family so we can do it but it does mean that we have to make some sacrifices at times because of the girls' dancing."

Holly Duder-Joy, dance teacher and owner of WADPA, said she wanted to provide scholarships to give children more opportunities.

"I think I just see the cost that people pay and the kids that miss out because their parents can't afford for them to do it. I think with dance not being a sport we don't tend to get quite the recognition a sport or a team would get."

Duder-Joy said she received about 80 applications for scholarships, mostly from girls who already danced at WADPA.

"It was good but it made our lives much harder choosing who gets them. You want to give something to everybody but also the reason for the scholarship is to make a difference. If you're spreading a tiny bit out among everybody it's not going to make an impact so we wanted to have that impact enough for it to be noticeable."

Most of the scholarship fund came from an anonymous family who have also committed to contributing $5000 for the next two years.


She said the scholarship recipients were chosen by herself and the other WADPA dance teachers.

"It's something I've always wanted to do so it was amazing to give them out. They were just really grateful and really overwhelmed."

Kaiser said the scholarships were amazing for girls - like Libby - who love to dance.

"She dances five days a week and she loves it. She wants to be a dance teacher and a lot of her best friends are dancers.

"The scholarships mean some kids can take an extra class this year that they wouldn't be able to take, or it just relieves the pressure."

Scholarship Recipients

Dayna Gavin $150 per term, $600 total
Kheira Paki-Taare $150 per term, $600 total
Khaira Chi $300 per term, $1200 total
Asha Huddleston $150 per term, $600 total
Carys Reed $150 per term, $600 total
Natalia Bates $150 per term, $600 total
Jaimee Delemare $100 per term, $400 total
Hanna Romanova $200 per term, $800 total
Lily Martin $50 per term, $200 total
Libby Kaiser $150 per term, $600 total
Rebekah Kenwright $150 per term, $600 total
Mia Schutte $150 per term, $600 total
Carmela Paulino $100 per term, $400 total
Isabella Tamahori $150 per term, $600 total
Jordan Kamlade-Smith $100 per term, $400 total
Heia Tahuri $100 per term, $400 total
Milly-Rose Ball $50 per term, $200 total
Leah Powell $50 per term, $200 total
Abigeal Wilson $50 per term, $200 total
Ava Whyte $50 per term, $200 total
Eva Epiha $50 per term, $200 total