When it comes to balancing mainstream education with Māoritanga, Bay of Plenty's wharekura students are setting an example as role models who can walk in both worlds.
More than 10,400 students entered New Zealand Scholarship examinations last year, and of those who sat them, 2148 students were awarded one or more scholarships across 36 subjects.
New Zealand Scholarship assesses students on their ability to demonstrate high-level critical thinking, abstraction and generalisation.
Four Bay of Plenty wharekura had multiple students pass scholarship exams last year.
Te Wharekura o Ngāti Rongomai students achieved four Scholarships and one Outstanding Scholarship.
As well as achieving Scholarships in te reo Māori, Hinemoa Herbert, 17, Hiko o Te Rangi Curtis, 17, Tuterangiharuru Vaka, 16, and Ngatuire Hapi, 17, also achieved NCEA Level 3 with excellence despite only being Year 12.
"I always just try to pass but getting excellence is always a bonus," Ngatuire said.
"Knowing our hard work paid off, some of those late nights, feels good. We were happy as."
Hinemoa said their results came on the back of a lot of effort.
"Last year was the year for me to finish off Level 3. It did take time management, I usually make to-do lists and tick everything off," she said.
"Now we're doing Unistart at Waikato [University]."
Tuterangiharuru said the results were particularly pleasing after having to adapt to Covid-19 and the resulting lockdowns last year.
"Last year was hard as because of Covid but I'm happy I passed Level 3," he said.
"Although there were hard times I managed to keep working. I'm lucky my dad is my teacher as well so he could help me at home and make sure I was working."
Hiko said all four students were aiming to study at the University of Waikato next year, although some were still deciding which subjects.
"I'm ready to move into the next part of life and keep learning," he said.
"[The wharekura] has definitely prepared me for that, especially on my Māori side. Knowing I can take that over there is pretty mean I reckon. I plan to study some business, Māori and a few other things."
Te Wharekura o Ngāti Rongomai dean Dan Vaka said the school was "stoked" with the students' results.
"These four students have been excellent ever since they started NCEA," he said.
"These are our high achievers and it will be sad to see them leave because they're a really good bunch of kids."
He said the four students set a great example for younger children at the kura.
"It gives them something to aspire to. Because our school is a wharekura, it starts from new entrants right through to Year 13 so this instills a sense of pride in our babies because they look up to these kids as their big brothers and big sisters, so they're proud of them.
"It reaffirms to our kids that they can be high achievers in both worlds, a mainstream setting and te ao Māori setting."
Meanwhile, Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Koutu students achieved two Scholarships and one Outstanding Scholarship. Its senior school staff and students are away at camp this week so were unavailable for comment.
Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ruamata achieved three Scholarships. Staff at the school did not want to talk to the Rotorua Daily Post about the achievements.
In Mount Maunganui, Te Wharekura o Mauao students achieved three Scholarships.
Ariana Poihipi-Black (Year 12), Riritawhai Ferris (Year 13) and Tawa Ngatoko (Year 13), achieved Scholarships in Te Reo Māori and had already passed NCEA Level 3 in various subjects when they were Year 11.
Te Wharekura o Mauao mātua Heywood Kuka said they were impressive results.
"We definitely aspire to get our kids through the scholarship examinations so we're really proud of them," he said.
"For kids here, their knowledge in te reo Māori means they can gain Level 3 in te reo Māori and te reo Rangatira at an early age and concentrate on mainstream subjects like English and maths at their year level.
"Being te reo Māori speakers certainly gives them an advantage. They all work very hard as well."
Bay of Plenty wharekura New Zealand Scholarship examination results
Te Wharekura o Ngāti Rongomai
Four Scholarships, one Outstanding Scholarship
Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ruamata
Te Wharekura o Mauao
Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Koutu
Two Scholarships, one Outstanding Scholarship