Whanganui student Melissa Hawira is the 2020 recipient of the Gary Reid Memorial Scholarship for $1000.
Reid, who died in 2018 provided advice, support and advocacy to low-income workers and beneficiaries in Whanganui for more than 20 years. He opened the Whanganui People's Centre with support from MPs Sue Bradford and Tariana Turia in 1999, working without pay for the first 18 months.
The scholarship was presented at the Whanganui People's Centre this week.
Volunteer Whanganui manager Sandra Rickey wanted Reid to have a legacy and approached former Whanganui MP Chester Borrows to establish the scholarship to honour Reid's memory.
"When we first discussed the scholarship, we decided that because of the nature of Gary's work, a social sciences student who is facing significant challenges in undertaking their programme of study would be an appropriate recipient," she said.
The contributors are Volunteer Whanganui, Whanganui People's Centre, PARS, CLAW, Balance Whanganui, Jigsaw Whanganui, Victim Support, Whanganui Community House, Gail Bennett and Gloria Campbell.
Rickey and two community members form a panel to decide who the recipient will be and there were a number of suitable applicants this year.
Hawira, as a busy mum of two teenagers balancing part-time work while studying towards a degree in social work, was deemed to be the most suitable candidate.
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"I am studying at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa in Whanganui and I love it," she said.
"My dad was a social worker and it is something I have always wanted to do so last year I left my job at Mitre 10 and did a certificate in bicultural social services and now I am studying towards the Kaitiakitanga in social services.
"I would like to continue with postgraduate study and I am still deciding what my area of speciality will be.
"Being awarded this scholarship gives me a welcome financial boost but it also gives me the confidence to keep going and pushing myself forward."
The scholarship was awarded for the first time to social work student Kiriana Butler in 2019.
Rickey said while some contributors committed to five years of support for the scholarship others prefer to donate on a year-by-year basis and it is hoped that it will continue.
Hawira was also presented with an engraved medallion and her name will be added to the glass koru trophy which is displayed at the People's Centre.