NZCU Scholarship Providing Opportunities for Youth to Perform on World Stage
The 2018 NZCU South Young Member Scholarship recipients were awarded in January, 2018. Indigo Poynton-Levett, Tuihana Taiaroa-Smithies and Thomas Sexton were this year’s deserving recipients, with each receiving $5,000 to assist in achieving their goals and aspirations. The scholarships have allowed the opportunity for the three recipients to recognise their potential, competing on an International Stage, both in the performing arts field and in the sporting arena.
Both Poynton-Levett and Taiaroa-Smithies have been selected to travel with the prestigious 2018 Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand group (SGCNZ) for the Shakespeare Globe Theatre Tour to the UK. In July, a party of 24 will partake in workshops and perform a play at the Shakespeare Globe Theatre. For Dunedin-based 16 year old Taiaroa-Smithies, the scholarship has funded travel to London which cannot come soon enough for the aspiring costume-designer. “I have been counting down the days until we go, I think this is the hardest part of the year, waiting!”
For track cyclist Tom Sexton (19) of Invercargill, receiving the scholarship was well-timed, allowing the ability to upgrade equipment, for the recently concluded Commonwealth Games. “A lot of my sporting equipment is very expensive – this scholarship has allowed me to upgrade, helping me to continue to improve and move forward.” The 2018 Commonwealth Games held on the Gold Coast, Australia in April is a notable highlight in the young career of Sexton. The Cambridge-based track cyclist remarks “with the Commonwealth Games being so close to home, it has allowed for more publicity and for family and friends to be able to watch me compete on the world stage”.
Unfortunately, the Commonwealth Games did not provide Sexton the best opportunity to showcase his talent, as the current Oceania Elite Madison Champion was disqualified from his preferred event, the team pursuit. The team was disqualified as part of one of the bikes was too long. “The disqualifying was completely out of mine and my team member hands. We qualified 3rd and we were not able to race for the medal.”
The next step for Sexton is training and some track racing in Northern Italy, to get stronger and improve, with the long term objective, being competing at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Running in its third year, the NZCU South scholarships are aimed at recognising young members or family members of members to assist in payment of part or full study in the areas of academia, arts, music or sports within New Zealand or overseas for which applicants have been accepted. The scholarships aim to assist recipients in realising their dreams, whilst being recognised within the community and beyond for being at a high level in their chosen field and being able to further develop already recognised potential.