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NORTHERN DRIVERS' CHARITABLE TRUST
SKILLS & TRAINING SCHOLARSHIPS

RECIPIENTS

In 2018 the Northern Drivers’ Charitable Trust implemented its Skills & Training Scholarships Programme. The programme provides NZCTU-affiliated union members, or their spouses/children, with funding towards course costs, course resources or university halls of residence accommodation costs. The Trust Board welcomes applications from people who aspire to gain qualifications in the various trades or through university studies, including people who have reasons to retrain.

For 2024, the Trust Board has awarded ten scholarships to recipients studying for a diverse range of qualifications. All are enthusiastic about what is ahead in their chosen vocations; seeking not only to influence and make improvements in the professions but also to use their training and knowledge to contribute within their communities.

Congratulations to recipients.

ANTONIA VERSTAPPEN

I am a member of the Tertiary Education Union
2024

Tēnā koutou

I am in my final year of studying for a PhD in Medicine at the University of Auckland. My thesis examines the factors that predict medical students’ entry into General Practice as a future medical career specialty. I hope that the findings help to ensure that New Zealand has sufficient GPs in our health system, and New Zealanders have a diverse health workforce that meets our diverse population health needs. I was motivated to study for my doctorate as I am passionate about public health and equity in Aotearoa.

Upon completion of my PhD, I hope to continue to pursue a career in academia and contribute to the wider public conversation about solutions to New Zealand’s health workforce challenges. I am grateful to the Northern Drivers’ Charitable Trust for their support in helping me achieve my goals.

Antonia Verstappen
Nisha Bista

NISHA BISTA

I am a member of NZ Nurses Organisation
2024

I work at the Whangarei hospital as a healthcare assistant. I am dedicated to making a positive difference in people's lives by providing compassionate care and support. I am grateful for the financial assistance provided by the Northern Drivers Charitable Trust, which is helping me achieve my goal of becoming a nurse and making a positive impact on people's lives.

EMMA HRIBAR

My father is a member of the NZ Professional Firefighters Union
2024

Tēnā Koutou Katoa,

I am about to begin my Master's Degree in Criminology after completing my Bachelor's degree majoring in Psychology and Criminology. I am passionate about the issues affecting Māori in relation to the criminal justice system in Aotearoa, and the reasons for the disproportionate number of Māori in our prisons.

I am incredibly grateful to be awarded this scholarship from the Northern Drivers' Charitable Trust and am hopeful I am able to give back to the community with what I learn and achieve throughout my degree.

Emma Hribar
Renee O'Neill

RENEE O’NEILL

I am a member of NZ Professional Firefighters Union
2024

I have been a career firefighter for the last sixteen years. For as long as I can remember, I have always had a passion for helping people. This year I am embarking on a new path as I begin a Bachelor of Nursing. I believe I can take my valuable life skills and experience into this new career with the desire to work in the Emergency Department.

I am extremely grateful to the Northern Drivers' Charitable Trust for their support and this scholarship will go towards this year’s study fees.

OSHADHA PERERA

My parent is a member of E tū union
2024

I am a first-year student at the University of Otago, studying Health Sciences First Year. I have been passionate about human biology and biomedical research for a long time and my involvement in biology and chemistry-related learning, both in and out of school, has only grown this interest. As a result, I am planning to pursue a career in this field. I want to give back to the community and make a difference in people’s lives by contributing to our healthcare and biomedical research sectors.

I am extremely grateful to the Northern Drivers’ Charitable Trust for supporting my tertiary education through its scholarship programme.

Oshadha Perera
Toongkyuh Page Zi

TOONGKYUH PAGE ZI

I am a member of the Public Services Association Union
2024

Nō Hangahai au. Kua noho au i te motu mō te iwa tau i te whenua o Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei. Ko Tony taku ingoa.

I am an early career analyst working in the public sector. I enjoy working on projects that bring evidence to inform policies. After two years of working, I am pursuing a doctoral in Social Work at The University of Auckland. My research will focus on refugee resettlement in Aotearoa New Zealand. I hope to gain more research skills through the journey to advance my career.

Ka nui te mihi ki Northern Drivers’ Charitable Trust i te korahipi. I am grateful to the Northern Drivers’ Charitable Trust for the assistance.

MARISSA HART-DEHAR

My mother is a member of the NZ Professional Firefighters Union
2024

Tēnā koutou katoa,
Ko Moehau te Maunga
Ko Waihou te Awa
Ko Tikapa te Moana
Ko Tainui te Waka
Ko Ngati Tamatera te Iwi
Ko Pai O Hauraki te Marae
No Waiomu ahau
Ko Dehar toku Whanau
Ko Jason Dehar toku Papa
Ko Dhea Hart toku Mama
Ko Marisa Hart-Dehar toku ingoa
No reira, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena tatou katoa 

I am currently a qualified Enrolled Nurse in my second year of studying towards my Bachelor's of Nursing. I come from a family where both my parents volunteered their time to help our local community by becoming volunteer firefighters for 27+ years. Also, my mother became a career firefighter in South Auckland. Growing up I was able to see my parents continuously helping people, which inspired me at a young age to pursue a career where I too could help people every day.

I would like to thank Northern Drivers' Charitable Trust for granting me this scholarship. I am immensely grateful for this opportunity. This scholarship will cover a portion of my course fees this year.

Marissa Hart-Dehar
Sonia Evers

SONIA EVERS

I am a member of the NZ Professional Firefighters Union
2024

I am a NZ Diploma student for Wellness and Relaxation Massage studies at Otago Polytechnic.

My overarching goal now is to become a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner (CCRP) through the University of Tennessee and the Veterinary Academy of Higher Learning. This certification will enable me to assist injured or neurologically impaired dogs, enhancing their quality of life along with providing support to their owners. Recently, I completed a two-year Diploma of Veterinary Nursing, a prerequisite for the CCRP program. My current focus is on becoming a massage therapist. This training will teach me how to 'feel' tissues and, importantly to me, provide immediate pain relief to the patient. Subsequently, I plan to pursue my CCRP qualification.

I can't thank the Northern Driver's Charitable Trust enough for their generous support with this scholarship. I am truly grateful and humbled to be chosen as a recipient this year.

JAMES ROBERTS

My partner is a member of E tū
2024

Tēnā koutou katoa,

I have been an organiser, activist, and project coordinator in various political, workplace, and community campaigns since 2011. Within the union space, I have worked as a field officer as well as a project coordinator for the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions, Te Kauae Kaimahi.

I am currently enrolled in a Master’s programme at Victoria University of Wellington, Te Herenga Waka. My project seeks to understand the socio-economic impacts of the prematurely struck down Fair Pay Agreement legislation. This involves exploring the limits and possibilities of the legislation through theory, international comparators, and interviews with trade unionists. Based on these, the project will document the history of the legislation and make recommendations on how unions can work to reimplement and improve sector-wide bargaining under future governments.

I want to wholeheartedly thank the Northern Drivers' Charitable Trust for this scholarship. With the Trust’s support, I have been granted the opportunity to improve my practice as an organiser and contribute to the workers’ struggle.

Kia kaha

James Roberts
Mackenzie Valgre

MACKENZIE VALGRE

I am a member of E tū
2024

This year I went back to university to retrain as a secondary school teacher. I'm proud to be following in the footsteps of my father, a primary school teacher for over 30 years, and to be joining a unionised profession. I hope that students who leave my classroom have an understanding about how to build a better world for working people and the confidence in themselves to do so. A gift that my teachers once gave to me. 

My deepest gratitude to the Northern Drivers' Charitable Trust for their support in my career change. There's power in the union!

PRIOR RECIPIENTS

2023

Rosemary Anderson

New Zealand Nurses Organisation

Natasha Bolton

FIRST Union

Diane Claydon

New Zealand Nurses Organisation

Michaela Edwards

Tertiary Education Union

Fa Afuhia Fia

FIRST Union

Sam McFazdean

NZ Professional Firefighters' Union

Vanessa McGowan

NZ Professional Firefighters' Union

Ruby Pickering

New Zealand Nurses Organisation

Te Inuwai Poi

FIRST Union

Jahvaya Wheki

FIRST Union

2022

Holly Button

New Zealand Nurses Organisation

Joe English

FIRST Union

Moana Wilson

New Zealand Nurses Organisation

2021

Holly Button

New Zealand Nurses Organisation

Paul Day

FIRST Union, New Zealand Nurses Organization, Tertiary Education Union

Kayla Draper

NZ Professional Firefighters' Union

Taylor Anahera 
Herewini-Waiariki

FIRST Union

Joe English

FIRST Union

Georgia Johnson

Equity New Zealand

Josh Madgwick

NZ Professional Firefighters' Union

Sarah Marr

Public Service Association

Jessi Williams

SAG-AFTRA, Equity New Zealand

2020

Emma Bramwell

New Zealand Nurses Organisation

Dani Lidell

Public Service Association

Josh Madgwick

NZ Professional Firefighters' Union

Sarah Marr

Public Service Association

Katherine Meeten

FIRST Union

Ella Nichols

New Zealand Nurses Organisation

Tyrel Phillips

FIRST Union

Jahvaya Wheki

FIRST Union

2019

Emma Bramwell

New Zealand Nurses Organisation

Damon Fife

Maritime Union of New Zealand

Cordelia Huxtable

New Zealand Education Institute

Yanah Partsch

E tū

Jahvaya Wheki

FIRST Union

Mumbeen

FIRST Union

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