Student taking advantage of scholarship opportunity

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Kaya Kupe will be shooting from the three-point line and could be doing it in front of thousands of spectators with the support the WITT Sport’s Academy Scholarship provides while he studies.   

The Waitara High School basketballer hopes to progress in his chosen sport with the dream to play professionally overseas.

Born in Doncaster, England, Kaya moved to New Zealand when he was three and never left.

He was introduced to basketball when a cousin asked him to trial with him while he was Year 8. But he started to take it seriously during his Year 12 years.

So far, he has represented Taranaki at the Under 19 and Under 17 Nationals.

He enjoys progressing and developing while being able to see how far he’s come along with being able to play basketball wherever.

“Plus, dunking is pretty fun,” when asked about what he enjoys about the sport.

His father and coach have been the two biggest influences for Kaya to date.

“They both push me to work hard and both made individual efforts in order to see my progress and enjoy basketball. I’ll always owe it to them.”

Kaya was one of the recipients of the WITT Sport’s Academy scholarships in 2022 and is studying the New Zealand Certificate in Electrical Engineering (Level 3).

He said the academy is helping him develop his basketball skills, including how to train more efficiently, develop his vertical and strength along with his ability to accelerate and decelerate.

“I have enjoyed furthering my training knowledge while also getting an individual plan for my specific sports,” he said.

He looks forward to his training plan while having access to multiple coaches and meeting “like-minded people.”

With his qualification, which includes full-time study for a year, Kaya said he will be able to continue to play basketball while being qualified as an electrician.

“I hope one day be able to make basketball my job and not only represent the country but go play overseas,” he said.

“I could also see myself as a sparky so I am grateful this scholarship lets me do both.”

Kieran Mckendry, Deputy Director School of Nursing, Health and Wellness, works with Kaya in the Sport’s Academy programme and is proud of his dedication and hard work.

“Kaya is a hardworking and dedicated student; he’s never missed a 6 am session in the gym even though he has to come in from Waitara.”

“Getting to work with students like Kaya is rewarding and a great reminder of why I got into education,” he said.

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