Aon Emerging Schools Rowing Scholarship Winner 2023

Congratulations to Taupo-nui-a-Tia College, this year’s winner of the 2023 Aon Emerging Schools Scholarship, who receive a $5,000 grant to support their rowing and sporting objectives.

In partnership with Rowing NZ, the Aon Emerging Schools Scholarship is about breaking down barriers to make rowing accessible to all schools, regardless of their resources and financial constraints. By providing financial support to schools, we are helping to support the growth and development of rowing programs, especially for schools without a well-established rowing foundation and, we are opening opportunities for their students to maximise their full rowing potential.

Taupo-nui-a-Tia College’s impressive application

Taupo-nui-a-Tia College had a robust and strategic plan in their scholarship application. They demonstrated realistic growth numbers and the potential to send athletes to the Aon Maadi Regatta in 2024. With a lack of rowing foundation or even their own boats, it was apparent that Taupo-nui-a-Tia College was in need of support.

“It was a tough decision, but we were very thorough.” says Kate Adams, Rowing NZ Community and Schools Co-ordinator. “I personally can’t wait to follow Taupo-nui-a-Tia College’s journey through to Maadi 2024 and beyond.”

Erica Strik, the school’s Sports Coordinator said she spent hours writing the submission. She laid out where the school is now, and where it wants to be. Many schools wouldn’t blink an eye at their targets, but their programme doesn’t have that ingrained rowing culture behind it - within the school or wider community – so it must work for every rowing dollar it gets. The school has no boats of its own, let alone an eight to get to the start line in two years’ time.

“The simple act of being recognised by the scholarship sends a positive signal about trying to make rowing more accessible for students.” says Erica.

Part of the money was targeted towards training camps, assisting novice rowers into the programme and purchasing safety equipment to cater for rising numbers.

“This will be an amazing platform to spring forward from,” says Erica. “Somewhere to start from and put us on the journeys with those things.”

Aon New Zealand Deputy Managing Director, Russell Bailey is passionate about school rowing and shares Erica and Kate’s excitement about Taupo-Nui-a-Tia College being the recipient.

“I have been involved in rowing – both in a professional and personal capacity – for over 40 years, and I have seen first-hand the impact that funding can have on a school’s rowing programme. Whether social or competitive, the physical and psychological benefits of sport are long-lasting and that’s why this scholarship is so important - to help schools grow their wider sporting capability alongside opening new opportunities for students of all levels in rowing. I wish Taupo-Nui-a-Tia College every success and look forward to seeing them next year at the Aon Maadi Regatta.”

Applications for 2024 will open soon. More detail to come.

For more on our partnership with Rowing New Zealand, visit our website.


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