Matakahi Scholarships

Growing our future

Iti te matakahi, paoa atu anō, nā, potapota noa
Even the smallest wedge, with persistent effort, can topple the greatest tree

The commercial aspirations of Ngāi Tahu Holding Corporation coupled with Te Rūnanga Group’s role as an inter-generational steward of the tribe’s assets led to the development of this programme. Matakahi scholarships create opportunities to grow our Ngāi Tahu capacity now and for the future.

Established in 2009 the scholarships are for Ngāi Tahu students studying for a commercially focused tertiary qualification and are designed to provide cadets with a broad range of learning experiences, challenges, and opportunities within the Te Rūnanga Group.

What we are looking for.

  • Those who are registered with Ngāi Tahu and are entering into their 2nd year of tertiary study or beyond and are studying commerce, law, information technology or property.
  • Those with a strong academic ability and a well-rounded community connection that can be demonstrated at either a whānau, hapū, Papatipu Rūnanga or iwi level.
  • We consider personal qualities to be as important as academic ones. The Matakahi Scholarship is a significant financial investment and we will expect a commitment from those that are chosen on the programme. We want to see how you can contribute to the future development of the iwi and will expect you to engage in a number of activities during your time on the programme.
  • We are looking for individuals who fit a lot of varied mahi into their lives and have determination and enthusiasm. You’ll also need to be highly motivated and give examples of your engagement and initiative.

Advantages of this scholarship include:

  • Annual funding towards tuition fees for up to 3 years
  • Paid summer work placement within Ngāi Tahu commercial businesses or commercial partners
  • Mentoring and opportunities for cultural involvement to strengthen your Ngāi Tahutanga
  • Ties to Papatipu Rūnanga – including attendance on Aoraki Bound, Hui-ā-iwi, Noho Marae and more


“As part of the Matakahi Scholarship I was given a work placement at an investment bank in Auckland. This opportunity landed me a graduate job with them and I will start in early 2017, after I complete my Masters in Applied Finance and Economics at the University of Canterbury. The experience I had as part of the Matakahi programme has literally landed me my dream job, and I credit that to the opportunities the Matakahi Scholarship provided me.”

-Judge Williams (Ngāi Tahu – Ngāi Tūāhuriri), Matakahi Scholar


“Before being awarded a Ngāi Tahu scholarship I had little contact with my iwi and was unsure about my Māori whakapapa. Since being awarded the scholarship my life has been a whirlwind of eye-opening cultural experiences and rangatahi gatherings, and I have loved learning more about myself as a Ngāi Tahu wahine.  The scholarship also allowed me to gain work experience at a Christchurch law firm over the university holidays. This was hugely beneficial and has given me practical experience in the profession that I can take into my legal career.”

– Janelle Wilson (Ngāi Tahu – Ōraka Aparima Rūnaka, Waihōpai Rūnaka)


How to Apply

Applications are taken annually in February. To enquire please contact 0800 KAI TAHU (524 248) or email

If you would like to be sent an email when applications are online register an expression of interest via the Ngā Pūkenga Database