A Brighter Future

Rulon Brown is on the way to being the first in his family to achieve a university education.The 19-year-old from Otahuhu says he is humbled to be one of 18 students chosen for a Woolf Fisher First-in-Family AUT Scholarship in 2019.



To some extent, it is the difference between studying at university or not, he says. “It’s been a great help aiding in that financial burden, especially with my family.”


Being brought up in a community that emphasizes collective contribution of time, money and effort makes it challenging to prioritize university. Rulon explains that the scholarship has provided him with the support he needs to allow him to invest in both university and family.


“I’m just humbled by the opportunity. It’s a testament to coming from South Auckland and still being able to succeed in a world that I’m not necessarily expected to be in.”


The aim of the Woolf Fisher First-in-Family AUT Scholarships is to break down barriers to study that have stopped an applicant’s family members from attending university.


Sixty-nine students have been given the gift of three years free study at the Auckland University of Technology since the scholarship was first awarded by the Woolf Fisher Trust in 2015.


With the Government’s new first year fees-free policy, scholars now also receive $2500 each year, if they make satisfactory progress.


It is common for recipients to say that as well as the material difference made by the financial assistance of their grant, knowing there are people out there who believe in their potential and want to support them ignites their motivation to succeed.


Eilish Out-O’Reilly is one of 17 scholars who have graduated at AUT with support of the Woolf Fisher Trust. In a successful end to 2018, Eilish not only took home her Bachelor of Design, she also took the Head of School Award for Top Overall Student and a UX Homegrown Award for a household food management app she designed and exhibited.


“I am beyond thankful to have received the AUT Woolf Fisher First-in-Family Scholarship. None of this would have been possible without the generosity of the Trust. To be able to pursue, explore and excel in an area I am passionate about has been a truly fulfilling experience.”


AUT has a strong history of support and encouragement for students for whom university study is a challenge for family, financial and/or cultural reasons.


The university’s development of the AUT South Campus in Manukau symbolizes this commitment. 



Recipients of the 2019 Woolf Fisher First-in- Famiy AUT Scholarships: Sione Finau, Emma Tuave, Sebastian Ma’u, Lata Ofa, Jay Fesilafai, Agape Leituala, Jack Mai, Kalorna Salu, Jordan Williams, Ngato-Zharnaye Livingstone, Saleha Askar, Mafua Matapula, Victoria Cocker, Rhiana Merota, Helen Faimasasa, Lata Vunga, Penina- Rose Faaee and Rulon Brown.


Read this and other stories like this in the latest issue of SPASIFIK Magazine