Scholarship continues legacy of community assistance

25 May 2021 | Students News

The new Ekara James Lewis Memorial Scholarship commemorates the former staff member and alumnus’ contribution to Māori community development and education.

Established through a bequest from Ekara, who died in 2016, the scholarship supports Māori tertiary students to achieve their potential. It is available to current students studying towards a full-time Lincoln University undergraduate or postgraduate degree.

In the late 1990s, Ekara changed his career path and began tertiary level Māori Studies at Lincoln as a mature student.

He had worked in a variety of roles, including traffic enforcement, fisheries management and tourism, and had also been involved in community development work, along with youth justice and family support.

This expanded into Māori community development, centred on violence prevention, anger management and community education.

He completed a Bachelor of Māori Planning and Development at Lincoln in 2007, specialising in Māori policy, Māori planning and social development, and added an honours year in 2008.

Upon completion of his degree, he became a contract lecturer in Māori Studies, and in 2009, he was appointed Lincoln University’s Kaitakawaenga (Māori Outreach Coordinator).

Through this role, he established the Sir Turi Carroll Memorial Lecture Series, and Sir Turi Carroll Life and Legacy Workshops in 2015 in Waiora. Both Sir Turi and Ekara were Ngati Kahungunu from Wairoa. They were also both Lincoln graduates, though a century apart.

Ekara’s community development work continued through senior Māori leadership roles in the Tertiary Education Union (TEU), and he was also Lincoln TEU Vice-President. In 2015, he was made a life member of the union.

In 2017, he was posthumously awarded the Lincoln University Ngati Moki Māori Leadership Trophy.

Applications for the Ekara James Lewis Memorial Scholarship close on June 30.

Find out more about the scholarship here.