Fri 22 Apr 2016

Our new scholars

Anne Wharepapa and Roxanne McDonald dream of becoming volunteer nurses abroad to help people in need.

But for now WITT is giving them a helping hand to complete their Bachelor of Nursing degrees.

The two New Plymouth based friends are the newest Dr David Wee Fong Han Scholars at WITT. 

The annual scholarship provides students who are studying for a Bachelor of Nursing with a grant of $600.  It is available to second year students who are studying full-time and plan to continue their Nursing Degree study at WITT for a further year.

The main criteria are perseverance and motivation to succeed in spite of personal circumstances.

Scholarships Coordinator Allana Prestney said they were outstanding candidates who had worked hard towards their goals while raising children and balancing tight budgets.

“The costs for nursing students can be particularly daunting, particularly when helping raise a family and if they are assisting other family members through their difficulties,” she said.  “Where hospitality students might be able to earn some extra money through working in the industry while studying, it is different for nursing students – it’s a big ask.”

Both students have recently completed 120 hours of unpaid nursing work and have another 120 ahead of them as part of their studies.

But they wouldn’t have it any other way. Anne had thoughts of entering journalism before she had children, but enjoys the variety of options available in nursing. Roxanne had nursing at the top of her bucket list from the outset and is all the more motivated because it runs in the family.

The two are study-buddies at WITT and talk about eventually doing volunteer work overseas – though their immediate target is to graduate at the end of next year.

“You go in with the idea of changing the world, but it doesn’t happen like that… it’s one person at a time, be it working in mainstream or where ever,’’ Roxanne, who was born in New Plymouth and has been at WITT for four years, says.

“You’ve got to walk before you can run – but when I can run it will be amazing.’’

Anne, who moved to New Plymouth from Auckland two years ago, said winning the scholarship lifted a weight from her shoulders.

The pair said they enjoy studying at WITT because there is so much support from tutors, support staff and fellow students.

Looking back, Roxanne recalled how she was inspired by some WITT graduates who told her taking the nursing course would be the best thing she would ever do.

Singapore born David Wee Fong Han brought his family came to New Zealand in 1971 and practiced as a GP at Okato for three years before moving to New Plymouth where he served the community

until he retired.  He died in 2002.

Dr Han was a leader in the Taranaki Chinese community and the scholarship  bearing his name reflects the high value his family places on the  work done by the nursing professionals in Taranaki.