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Alumni Student Scholarships

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Every year hundreds of gifted students apply for scholarships at the University of Otago. For some, this is their only chance to overcome the hardship and barriers associated with attending university. But many more miss out. Your donation could be truly life changing, it will allow a student to study and receive great support in the University life. This cost is out of reach for some families.

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The Brian Merrilees Canadian Alumni Travel Awards


This is a great opportunity for Canadian alumni to support this Exchange Program and you will be helping the career of someone perhaps not unlike your younger self.

Each year some 30-40 young Otago students go to Canada for further study under an Exchange Program set up with a number of Canadian universities. This program provides a special opportunity for Otago graduates in Canada to help with the travel costs for these young New Zealanders and encourage them to complete their studies in Canada.

With your support we hope to greatly expand the progamme each and every year.

"Going on exchange has been one of the best experiences of my life. During my time at Dalhousie University I had so many incredible experiences and met so many amazing new people."

- Jamie, 2019 recipient

"I thank the donors greatly for this award as it helped my living costs greatly. This time has given me lots of personal growth and life learnings which I will unlikely ever forget."

- Colm, 2019 recipient

Giving information:
For Canadian residents your donation is tax deductible. You can make an online donation using our Canadian donation form. We will send you a receipt suitable for Canadian tax purposes.

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Donna-Rose McKay Disability Support Scholarship


For many students, the Undergraduate Disabilities Scholarship provides an opportunity they may not have otherwise had. For students with impairments or long-standing illness, medical costs can be high and may prevent these young people from attending University. This scholarship enables such students to pursue a path of study at Otago.

Together we can secure a brighter future for New Zealand by enabling more students to reach their full potential.

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The Jolene Patuawa-Tuilave Māori Leadership in Law Scholarship


We welcome your contribution towards a scholarship in memory of Jolene Patuawa-Tuilave, a prominent Māori lawyer, who passed away on 24 June 2010 in Tauranga following a battle with cancer. This Māori Leadership in Law Scholarship is being established at the University of Otago, in partnership with Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua and Jolene's whānau, as a legacy to Jolene and to inspire other young Māori law students to follow their dreams.

Ka mate atu he tētē kura, ka whakaete mai he tētē kura.
One fern frond dies away, another fern frond pushes its way through.

(This whakatauki is a statement about regeneration in nature which is aligned to regeneration and continuity in human life.  Kura, the colour of red ochre, is a symbol of the rangatira who wore it, the chiefly leaders of hapū and iwi.  This whakataukī offers reassurance that when one phase of our life ends, another begins; when one leader passes on, another will arise to assume the mantle.)

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Otago Law Alumni Scholarship


We welcome your contribution towards this Undergraduate Scholarship within the Faculty of Law at the University of Otago. This scholarship is being established to provide support to high achieving, deserving year 13 students who aspire to study Law at Otago.

Consider joining the Law Alumni & Friends in supporting this scholarship. Your support will make a difference to a student's future - to our future!

We thank you for your support. Visit the Otago Law website.

Scholarship Recipients

The opportunity this scholarship has given me is tremendous, coming from an extremely low income family in a small town the prospect of university was always rather distant……when I received the email that I was the recipient of the Alumni Appeal Scholarship I was elated, I cried because I knew that it was possible now, I could do it, I could go to university.

It is in my own self belief that no matter where you are from, if you work hard enough to do what you love then people are willing to help you. I owe the people who are a part of Alumni a huge thank you because without your support there is a huge potential I could not be where I am right now surrounded by amazing friends, having fun, studying and 'taking my place in the world'.

Jessica Richards (2014 Otago Law Alumni Scholarship recipient)

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Pūtea Tautoko student support fund

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Named Pūtea Tautoko, which translates as financial support, the fund is a way for the University community to support those members facing the greatest need in extraordinary times.

All students will be eligible to apply for this hardship funding, whether they are New Zealand or international students, full-time or part-time, undergraduate or postgraduate.

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The Sophia Michelle McMillan Crestani Scholarship

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Established in 2020 in memory of Sophia Michelle McMillan Crestani, a second-year Bachelor of Science student studying mathematics and statistics. Sophia passed away in tragic circumstances at a student party in North Dunedin on 6 October 2019.

Sophia, the youngest of three children and a twin, grew up in Wellington. She demonstrated her innate ability in mathematics at an early age, winning the St Benedict's School Mathematics cup and an academic scholarship to Queen Margaret College. Sophia was a caring and enthusiastic spirit with a creative flair, having her Year 13 wearable art work “The Fallen” displayed at the National War Memorial, Hall of Memories as part of the centennial commemoration of the Passchendaele campaign.  Sophia was a people person with an engaging and sparkly personality who could light up any space. She was also a sporty young woman, competing in a number of sports including netball, dragon boating and gymnastics. Through her love of working with children she gave back to the community as a gymnastics coach and recreation co-ordinator. Sophia would want other young women to have the educational and career opportunities that she will not.

We welcome contributions to the scholarship.

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Taranaki Hands on at Otago Scholarship

This scholarship will look to assist Taranaki secondary school students have a tertiary experience by funding a scholarship for Hands on at Otago . This experience provides students a holistic view of what life is like at the University of Otago, such as living at a Residential College, completing a project on campus, and visiting areas of Dunedin.

In 2019 Tane Whitehead, previous Deputy Head Boy at Spotswood College and current student at the University of Otago was fortunate enough to receive a Poutama scholarship from the University of Otago which allowed him to attend this once in a lifetime opportunity.

“This was my first time on a flight, as well as the longest I have been away from my family, and I believe it changed me for the better in terms of my confidence. It also showed me that there are opportunities outside of New Plymouth. I made so many new friends from around the country and got to discover what university was all about. From that moment I have wanted to set up a scholarship for Taranaki low decile secondary school students to attend Hands on at Otago and for them to see the potential they hold.”

With your support many more students will be able to experience Hands on at Otago.

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UniCol 50th Anniversary Scholarship

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Invest in the future of UniCol. University College was established through the generosity of donors to the University's centenary campaign. It is thanks to those donors that we had such memorable experiences as part of a residential college community.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of UniCol, help support the next generation of residents by establishing a new scholarship. This scholarship will be awarded to a student who has made a significant cultural, sporting, or academic contribution to the UniCol community during their first year of residency.

Our goal is to raise $100,000 as a capital sum to fund an annual scholarship of $5,000 through investments in the University of Otago Foundation Trust.

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