Waikato family big on education

From left, twins Jayden Abraham and Aaliyah Abraham, 21, Delwyn Abraham, 44, Tayla Duffull, 19, Matt McManus, 23, and ...
DOMINICO ZAPATA/FAIRFAX NZ

From left, twins Jayden Abraham and Aaliyah Abraham, 21, Delwyn Abraham, 44, Tayla Duffull, 19, Matt McManus, 23, and Ruby Ingram, 20.

After 20 years working for a telco, Delwyn Abraham needed a change.

So she followed in the footsteps of her twin daughters, her nieces and her nephew and went back to school.

But genes and tertiary credentials are not the only things the family have in common - they all received education grants from Waikato-Tainui, part of the $1 million dished out this year alone.

There have been more than 10,000 grants and scholarships granted since the 1995 Raupatu settlement.

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Abraham's daughter Aaliyah Abraham, 21, is the only Maori person in her social sciences degree. Far from feeling left out, she feels it makes her stand out.

Her twin sister, Jayden, is also studying the sciences at the University of Waikato, but she's more interested in botany and crime scenes.

Niece Tayla Duffull, 19, is partway through a sport science degree at Wintec and hopes to become a physiotherapist.

Nephew Matt McManus, 23, is an apprentice for BCITO and will one day take over his father's building business.

And Ruby Ingram, another niece, who admits she was never great at maths, is now sitting an accounting degree at Waikato University.

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"I was offered a job in the finance team at the [Waikato-Tainui College for Research and Development] and it sparked my interest."

Waikato-Tainui College is also where Abraham is studying her master's in business administration.

The Ngaruawahia woman hopes her training will benefit her iwi one day. Abraham was granted a few thousand dollars, whereas the other members of her family were granted a few hundred. They all agree every little bit helps.

Rahui Papa, chairman of the tribe's executive committee, Te Arataura, said 66 per cent of the tribe's members aged over 15 have a formal qualification.

"Education is the key to a successful life, it is an absolute must, and our responsibility is to support our people as they go on their education journey. Our hope is that their journey continues for the duration of their lives."

 - Stuff

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