Past recipient stories

Searching for your thing? While inspiration seems to comes easily for some, for others it can be a real struggle. Even if you’re inspired, finding the time and energy to take the next step isn’t always straightforward.

Here you’ll find the inspiring stories from past recipients who prove it’s never too early or too late to do your thing, along with proof that even when life gets crazy, you can still hold on to your dream and take small steps towards doing your thing.

Kathryn Wilson
Shoe designer and 2002 National Scholarship recipient

It might have seemed like pie in the sky. But when you’re creative, passionate and high heels just happen to be your ‘thing,’ it hardly matters how far you need to reach. At least, that’s the stance Kiwi shoe designer Kathryn Wilson took.

Read Kathryn's story

Catherine Yang
Medical researcher and 2012 National Scholarship recipient

As a medical doctor and scientist, Kate Yang’s passion is being able to help people. It’s the most rewarding part of her job. And one way she knew she could make a real difference was by conducting research on a life-threatening disease called acute pancreatitis.

Read Catherine's story

Claire Davies
Scientist and 2012 Regional Scholarship recipient

Claire Davies has sight. But more than that, she has vision. A Senior Lecturer in Engineering at the University of Auckland, she’s well aware that when you can’t see, navigating your environment can be incredibly difficult. Her vision is to help change that.

Read Claire's story

Curt Perano
Dog sledder and 2011 National Scholarship recipient

Curt Perano has been stranded in blizzards, lost the sight in one eye, and endured long stretches of time in the icy wilderness with 16 dogs as his only companions.

Read Curt's story

Sam Judd
Environmentalist and 2012 National Scholarship recipient

Helping to preserve the world’s natural resources is Sam Judd’s ‘thing.’ He’s been described as an ‘uber achiever,’ and looking at what he’s accomplished, it’s easy to see why. Co-Founder and CEO of Sustainable Coastlines Charitable Trust, he’s teaching people how to reduce waste by changing their behaviour. That’s no small feat.

Read Sam's story

Scottie Reeve
Social entrepreneur and 2013 National Scholarship recipient

Scottie Reeve grew up believing the sky is the limit; now he wants to give more young New Zealanders the chance to find their ‘thing’ and fulfil their goals and ambitions in life.

Read Scottie's story

Gabriel Callaghan
Student and 2012 Study Start Scholarship recipient

Growing up as the only deaf child in a mainstream school, Gabriel Callaghan knows first hand what it’s like to live with a disability. It’s not an even playing field to begin with, and if you’re also living without one of your senses, it can be extra tough. His goal is to become a secondary school teacher, and role model to inspire others overcoming disabilities as well.

Read Gabriel's story

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