Meet the 2024 Tū i te ora Scholarship winners

Congratulations to the six recipients of our Tū i te ora Scholarship for 2024 – Huia Clarke, Barbara Goodwin, Isabella Jensen, Winiwini Kingi, Alyssa Olsen, and Sequoia Stevens.

The recipients, who were selected from 51 applicants, each receive $4000 toward their tertiary studies plus paid work experience at council. They will join our Biosecurity Partnerships, Climate Action, Māori Relationships, and Predator Free teams from November 2024 to February 2025.

The annual scholarship recognises and supports students to undertake study, research or training that relates to council’s environmental and regulatory functions – providing a springboard for future environmental leaders and champions, whilst contributing to council’s vision ‘Tiakina te taiao, tuia te here tangata - Nurture the environment, bring together the people’.

The scholarship aims to:

  • Build Māori capacity within Te Taitokerau and assist students to pursue further education
  • Encourage greater uptake of tertiary education aimed at protecting the environment
  • Develop connections between tertiary students and council
  • Provide support to students experiencing financial hardship and difficulties
  • Encourage mātauranga Māori research and education.

This year’s recipients all have strong connections to Northland and the judging panel was particularly impressed with the recipients’ passion and determination to protect the environment for future generations.

We are delighted to support such promising Northland talent and look forward to the students joining us later this year to complete their work experience.

Meet the recipients

Huia Clarke

Te Uri Taniwha, Ngāti Rangi, Ngāti Hau, Ngāpuhi

Huia Clarke.

Huia will join our Hydrology team this summer.

Raised in Ōhaeawai, Huia’s childhood was spent exploring her family’s whenua (land) and running along Far North beaches, fostering her love for te taiao (the environment) and strengthening her desire to help conserve it.

Huia is now in her first year of a Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in Green Chemical Science. This degree combines Huia’s two passions, chemistry and the environment.

Huia is an active member of her local community, from being a member of the Far North Youth Council, doing conservation work on Moturoa Island, and being involved with her hapū, Ngāti Rangi.

Excited by the numerous career paths her degree could take her, Huia’s ultimate plan is to return to the Far North to improve local waterways and get involved in conservation work, combining Māori values, methods and views with the knowledge she has learned at university.

“I want to be an example of someone from a small low decile school who is achieving in hopes to encourage more Māori and more rural people to go university.”

Barbara Goodwin


Barbara Goodwin.

Barbara will join our Biosecurity - Partnerships team this summer.

Having worked in a different field for many years and seeking a change, Barbara was inspired to pursue an environmental career after seeing NRC staff doing water quality testing at Lake Waro.

She is now halfway through a Diploma in Environmental Management (Level 6), having achieved A+ results across all of her Level 5 papers.

Barbara’s passion for protecting the environment extends beyond her study, having done an extensive amount of environmental work on her property in Hikurangi, including riparian fencing, planting, and pest control for both weeds and animals. Her property now has a thriving population of native birds, including tūī, kererū, and the occasional kiwi.

Long-term, Barbara hopes to work in the environmental space, either in forest restoration, biodiversity or freshwater monitoring, however, first she will be pursuing a Bachelor of Environmental Science. She looks forward to joining our Biosecurity – Partnerships team this summer.

“Being able to get involved in protecting the natural environments that we have left in Northland means a lot to me. I’m looking forward to getting some work experience this summer and making a practical contribution.”

Isabella Jensen

Te Uri o Tai, Te Aupōuri, Te Rarawa, Ngāpuhi

Isabella Jensen.

Isabella will join our Climate Action team this summer.

Calling both Tokerau Beach and Hawke’s Bay home, Isabella has seen the impacts of climate change on coastal environments first-hand.

Fuelled by an interest to support at-risk communities through these changes, Isabella is now in her fifth and final year of studying toward a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts Conjoint, majoring in Māori Resource Management and Public Policy.

As part of her degree, Isabella has used Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping to identify the risk data of coastal erosion and flooding to Te Rarawa marae, working alongside her iwi, Te Rarawa during this process.

Now in her fifth and final year of study, Isabella aims to utilise her degree to help communities within Te Taitokerau combat the impacts of climate change and contribute to adaptation processes and regulations within local government.

“I see myself being a part of communities who are at risk to the impacts of climate change, working with them to ensure that they can protect their taonga. My long-term plans also involve continuing to connect back to my Māoritanga (Māori culture, beliefs, and way of life)”.

Winiwini Kingi

Te Kahu o Torongare, Ngāpuhi

Winiwini Kingi.

Winiwini will join our Biosecurity – Predator Free team this summer.

Growing up in a Māori community in Whāngarei, Winiwini was instilled with a deep respect for Te Ao Māori (the Māori worldview).

Winiwini is studying towards a Diploma in Environmental Management (Level 5). He has a deep passion for te taiao (the environment) and is motivated by a strong desire to positively impact the region’s future.

Having worked in the youth social service and counselling field for many years, Winiwini enjoys learning alongside younger students and sharing his own knowledge of te taiao to complement their studies.

Winiwini is deeply involved with his hāpu and is respected by many within the environmental space and beyond. His contributions include taking part in the Tāika Forest Biodiversity Survey – conducting plant and bat surveys, performing bird counts, identifying pests, and engaging in night spotting for lizards.

“I am over the moon with joy to receive this scholarship, it will help me with my studies and the summer work experience will help me practically. I am eager to understand the connection between my research and the environmental and regulatory functions of Northland Regional Council.”

Alyssa Olsen


Alyssa Olsen.

Alyssa will join our Climate Action team this summer.

Alyssa’s childhood was filled with hiking, camping and going to the beach in Whangārei, sparking a passion for the environment.

This, combined with her interest in maths and physics, led her to pursue a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) and Bachelor of Science conjoint, majoring in Engineering Science and Environmental Science.

Now in her fourth year of study, Alyssa’s motivation lies in the opportunity to use her degree to make a meaningful difference for the environment and future generations. She is especially interested in using data analytics, computational mechanics, and operations research to provide insights and contribute to decision-making surrounding environmental issues.

With the ultimate goal to work towards combatting climate change, Alyssa looks forward to joining our Climate Action team this summer.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the Climate Action team at Northland Regional Council. I’m looking forward to seeing how I can apply what I’ve learned at university to pressing issues such as climate change and make a difference in my community.”

Sequoia Stevens

Ngāpuhi, Te Rarawa, Ngāti Kahu, Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Kuia

Sequoia Stevens.

Sequoia will join our Māori Relationships team.

Hokianga born and raised, Sequoia credits her whakapapa and deep relationship with the whenua (land) and moana (sea) as the driving force behind her learning journey.

Sequoia is now in her third year working towards a Bachelor of Resource and Environmental Planning, minoring in Māori Studies.

With previous experience as a Duty Planner in local government, Sequoia is eager to work in the sector after completing her studies.

She aims to bring the skills and knowledge gained through her degree back to Te Taitokerau, focusing on the facilitation of mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) and western science to deliver environmental outcomes for the region.

“I strongly believe that learning is a journey with no destination, we should be thinking of ways that we can add to our kete and expand our knowledge base. We as Māori are hands-on learners and this work experience provides just that. I am absolutely humbled to receive this opportunity and look forward to doing the mahi with the Māori Relationships team.”