Dreams can come true for trio
Teenagers Robert Urquhart, Sean Hill and Ninwa Karimo have reason to be thankful to rugby great Tana Umaga and his Tana Umaga Foundation.
The Papakura High School students have been given scholarships by the foundation, help that will see each get a mentor to provide support and encouragement in their respective tertiary endeavours.
The scholarships are worth $15,000 over three years.
Umaga says he gets plenty of personal satisfaction helping the young and the talented.
"In my role, I am fortunate to be with young, talented people every day who have been given the opportunity and pathway to succeed," he says.
"For me it is personally very rewarding to be able to assist Robert, Sean and Ninwa, three very clever young people, chase their dreams."
Umaga says each mentor can relate to the circumstances of their pupil and understands the commitment required to succeed at a tertiary level.
Robert is Maori and wants to be a chef. He is a talented and determined year 13 student who plays basketball for the Counties Manukau under-19s and captains his school side.
Sean, 17, is Samoan, a gifted artist and the winner of this year's Te Tuhi Youth Art Award. He wants to be an animator.
Ninwa is Syrian and has lived in New Zealand for seven years. The 17-year-old plans to study for a bachelor of science.
The Tana Umaga Foundation was set up to reward hardworking, talented young people so they are able to follow their dreams without being adversely affected by their financial situation.
Seven students have received scholarships so far.