Hawai’i - Maori Link Leads to Scholarships
Tuesday, 11 May 2010
In a New Zealand first, two Native Hawaiian scholars have won top US awards to complete their PhD studies at the University of Waikato's School of Maori and Pacific Development.
(Via University of Waikato) The prestigious Mellon-Hawai’i doctoral fellowships are supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Kamehameha Schools, and are each worth US$40,000.
It’s the first time the fellowships have been awarded to students studying in New Zealand. Keao NeSmith is completing a PhD in applied linguistics, focussing on how the Hawaiian language is being conveyed to a new generation of Hawaiian speakers, while Noe Noe Wong-Wilson’s doctoral research is looking at strategies for success for Native Hawaiians entering community colleges.
“I’m looking at the acquisition of Hawaiian as a second or additional language – especially in relation to those who’ve learnt it from classrooms and have little or no interaction with native speakers,” says NeSmith, who’s a Hawaiian language instructor at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa.
NeSmith says he chose to do his PhD in New Zealand to further broaden his academic and professional experience and training, and to gain a more international view of academia and research methodologies. “I’m impressed with the value of the education I’m obtaining at Waikato. The professionalism of the training is truly world class.”
The other recipient of a Mellon-Hawai’i doctoral fellowship, Noe Noe Wong-Wilson, plans to spend her fellowship year writing up her thesis, “Achieving the Dream: A Native Hawaiian Initiative for Success at Hawai’i Community College”, under the academic supervision of Professor Ngahuia Te Awekotuku (CNZM).
“Aotearoa (New Zealand) is like a second home for me and my family,” she says. “Our Hawaiian history, language and cultural practices are very similar to Maori in many ways and we Hawaiians feel very comfortable being a part of the New Zealand and Maori communities.”