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No. 76 (June 1975)
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Cambridge Scholarship

High academic achievement has won for Robert Bryant, an Auckland Grammar School student, a scholarship to Cambridge University, where he will study for three years, before returning to New Zealand to study medicine. The scholarship, worth $3,200 annually, has been given by the Worshipful Company of Girdlers, one of the old liveried companies in Britain, which has set aside part of its income for scholarships for boys and girls who, having distinguished themselves in their schools, might wish to take degree courses at one of the old British universities. One of these scholarships is available each year for a New Zealand student, and if the successful applicant is a boy he takes up the scholarship at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. The selection committee also considers the all-round qualities of the candidate as well as his academic qualifications.

Nineteen-year-old Robert is half-Maori, and lives on the North Shore in Auckland. At primary and intermediate school he read a lot, and did well at school work. He was an out-of-zone applicant for Auckland Grammar School, and in the first examination did well enough to be placed in 3A. From then on he was in the top class of his form right through secondary school. For School Certificate he took physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, English and French, and had an average of 89%, obtaining 97% in maths. Because his class had already done some University Entrance work in the fifth form, they did the bursary syllabus in the sixth form, and Robert gained a University Junior Scholarship from his marks in chemistry, maths and biology. He stayed on at Auckland Grammar for a seventh form year, and was the school's top scholar in the scholarship examination, with the outstanding mark of 96% in English. His very high marks won him the Cambridge scholarship. Robert feels that the only drawback to the award is that it entails waiting for the beginning of the Cambridge year in October. Medical students do not usually apply for this scholarship, as it covers only three years study, so Robert will study biochemistry at Cambridge. Besides, New Zealand medical training is regarded as some of the best in the world.

If Robert had left school after his sixth form year, he would have gone to medical school, as although he obtained high marks in physics, chemistry and mathematics, he finds these subjects lack human interest, and medical studies have a more personal approach.

He has always enjoyed sport, and plays soccer and tennis, the latter to keep fit for the former. He was in school teams in both sports.

Robert feels that he has missed out a little in not acquiring a better knowledge of Maori culture, even though he is interested in it, and believes he has come across many situations as a Maori, where a knowledge of the Maori language would be satisfying, rather than a knowledge of French. Looking back, he would rather have taken Maori to School Certificate stage than French, but says that when he began secondary school he just did what everyone else was doing. He feels a School Certificate knowledge of Maori would have been sufficient for him to continue study outside school without affecting his other studies. He enjoyed taking Latin for two years.

He is certain that he would not have done as well academically at any other secondary school, and is grateful for the quality of teaching and availability of study material at Auckland Grammar. He also feels that much of his success was due to his family's quiet home life. Of his three sisters, two have attended Auckland Girls' Grammar School, one taking up computer programming and the other beginning nursing.

Robert's headmaster says of him, ‘He is an outstanding scholar. He obtained a

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University Scholarship in 1972 from the sixth form, a tremendous achievement, and in 1973 was top scholar at Auckland Grammar School in the Scholarship examination. His approach to his studies is that of a genuine student; he is hard working, he has a real flair for the sciences especially, and has the potential for work of distinction in some branch of science. He is extremely well-read, being fond of poetry, both English poetry and, in translation, poetry of other languages including Chinese. He was the winner of the 1973 Ngarimu V.C. Essay Competition held amongst pupils of Maori descent from schools throughout New Zealand.

‘He is quiet and reserved, but there is a great strength of character and an assured self-reliance that will enable him to adapt to life at Cambridge. This school is proud of his achievements and we wish him every success in the challenging years ahead.’

Te Ao Hou echoes those sentiments, and wishes Robert well in his future study, both in England and in New Zealand.


I climbed the hill
pushed through the bracken
pollen rises
on still air
below the bridge
the warbler calls.

‘that's his'
says Boy.
The wooden arm has gone.
The cross lies drunken
as often he was
— perhaps the night
he fell
tending his eel weir.
Fell into the arms of
Bore him seawards
to tangle in the willow roots.
Ha — so this is you Uncle.
Perhaps next Easter
the fern slashed back

A new cross perhaps
you reckon Boy?

I talk to the air.
He's gone
to wash his hands
and chase the rainbow dragon-flies.

Van Phillips