$16,000 in scholarships awarded to Wintec horticulture students


A registered charitable trust that is administered and managed by Perpetual Guardian awarded $16,000 in scholarships to Waikato Institute of Technology (Wintec) students at a ceremony last week. It is also calling for applicants for the 2019 round of scholarships.

Wintec students, Ngarino Thomas, Paco Divers, Shaun Green and Te Atatu Green each received a $4,000 grant to complete their tertiary education.

The Hicks Scholarships were initially established in 2011 as part of the Hicks Trust’s wider objective of promoting all forms of farming in New Zealand. The Trust, established by Avril Lois Hicks and Audrey Frances Hicks in 1993, wishes to foster a better understanding and improvement of agriculture, horticulture, arboriculture, viticulture, animal husbandry and other systems of farming.

Ngarino Thomas, who is studying Level 4 Amenity horticulture, says: “I grew up in a community that focused on horticulture. It's great being able to work in my neighbourhood and give back to my community. I feel humbled and grateful to learn and advance my skills in something that has been my passion.”


Her fellow student and award recipient Te Atatu Green shares her passion for horticulture.

“The Hicks scholarship has given me relief from the financial pressures I face as a mature student and parent. It has given me the tools that I needed to support my development and grow my own personal knowledge into something I am truly passionate about, which is turning my passion into a career,” says Te Atatu.


Rob Graham, Wintec’s programme coordinator for arboriculture says these scholarships allow students to progress in their careers without having the financial burden.

“The students are terrific, and I have no doubt they will go on to be industry leaders. Wintec also ensures their success by helping them to achieve through a combination of industry and practical work experience, to supplement their studies in a supportive environment. I’m proud to see the students advocating for the arboriculture sector and encouraging their fellow students to apply for the scholarships,” says Rob.

There are two Hicks Scholarship funding periods each year, both designed to assist students who are completing a Level 3 Amenity Horticulture or Arboriculture programme at Wintec and enrolling in a fulltime Level 4 Amenity Horticulture or Arboriculture programme.

Paco Divers was a competitive surfer and outdoor enthusiast before beginning his studies with Wintec. His interest in arboriculture began while travelling in Europe where he was offered a job in the arboriculture industry.

“The scholarship means I am financially free and able to focus more on my studies and gain practical experience. I hope to one day own my own company where I can provide the highest standard of tree work and advocate for the environment,” says Paco.


Shaun Green, who is also studying arboriculture, hopes to take the conversation wider.

“I want to continue to spread awareness of arboriculture and break the stereotype which comes with the career. It is so much more than just cutting down trees, it’s about interacting, educating and championing our environment. We really want to encourage other students to apply for this scholarship, and we cannot stress the benefits enough,” says Shaun.


Perpetual Guardian’s Client Manager, Margot Pienaar says, “This is a great example of how a trust can make a huge difference to people’s lives and communities. We look forward to watching these students achieve great things.”

To apply for the scholarship, students have to complete a Level 3 Amenity Horticulture or Arboriculture programme with Wintec (either in Hamilton or at any of Wintec’s Regional Horticultural programmes) and have a demonstrable passion for horticulture or arboriculture.

Applications for 2019 scholarships are currently open, interested students can visit this link for details about how to apply.

Read more:

Wintec qualification helps arborist scale international heights

Pioneer sows the seeds at Wintec for New Zealand arboriculture training

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