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Antonia van Sitter - 2023 Dr. Buck Nin Memorial Scholarship recipient

The 2023 Dr. Buck Nin Memorial Scholarship recipient for Māori contemporary art was 23-year-old Antonia van Sitter, who put the funds towards completing her Master of Architecture thesis.

Antonia's research, 'Marae Resilience,' focused on the resilience and displacement of marae following the February 2023 floods, using kaupapa Māori and pūrākau as research methods.

"I wanted to engage with marae all over the motu. I had been using my own funds then, so much of the scholarship went towards funding some of those engagements, like travel. I probably couldn't have done some of my research without it."

Antonia completed her Master of Architecture through Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington while also studying reo Māori, He Pī ka Pao Level 1 and 2 at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.

She wanted to utilise kaupapa Māori methodology in her research, and therefore she thought it would be best to study the language simultaneously.

By being a tauira of Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, Antonia was eligible for the scholarship, and to top it off, her research had been heavily influenced by the work of Dr. Buck Nin.

"It was a huge privilege to win the scholarship as I had used quite a bit of Dr. Buck Nin's work as precedent and inspiration for some of my work already. Getting the scholarship was my confirmation to go full throttle into those methods."

Dr. Buck Nin was a well-renowned educator and artist and played a crucial role in helping Te Wānanga o Aotearoa gain tertiary status.

He believed in establishing an institution open to everyone, regardless of their previous academic achievements. His paintings and work can be found in many collections worldwide, and he is considered one of the most important contemporary artists in Aotearoa.

Since completing her thesis in mid-March, Antonia has begun working for a Māori kaupapa firm, GHA Chartered Accountants and Management Consultants, where she finds her work deeply rewarding.

She's also grateful as they allowed her to continue pursuing her reo studies through their in-house weekly courses.

Antonia encourages fellow tauira to make the most of Te Kōpuretanga, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa Scholarships, saying, "It doesn't hurt to apply, and the scholarships are there for a reason. It's better to apply than to struggle and possibly fall off track. Sometimes, they can save the day."

Scholarship applications are open for submissions from Monday, 1 April 2024, to Sunday, 30 June 2024. Visit our scholarships page for more information.


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Published On: 09 May 2024

Article By: Cassia Ngaruhe

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