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Outstanding Auckland student wins scholarship to Cambridge

27 April 2018 | media

Olivia Bennett, Dux of Auckland’s St Cuthbert’s College last year, has been awarded the prestigious Sir Douglas Myers scholarship to study at Cambridge University in England.

Eighteen-year-old Olivia plans to study economics at Gonville and Caius College. John Taylor, Convenor of the selection committee, says, “Olivia is not only a very talented scholar, but also has excellent all-round interests and abilities, which will serve her very well at Cambridge.”

Olivia topped her school in history, physics and statistics last year, and in previous years came top in history, Spanish and English. Last year she also completed a university paper in calculus at the University of Auckland, while completing eight scholarship papers.

She has a passion for economics, despite not having taken the subject since Year 11, when she achieved distinction in the National Economics Competition. In Year 13, Olivia was highly commended as governor of her school Reserve Bank team in the National Monetary Policy Challenge.

Economics and politics will be the focus of her tertiary studies. “Economics will equip me to work in successful and challenging corporations in my future career. It will also assist in my ultimate aim to establish and run a profitable social enterprise,” says Olivia. “I would also continue to engage in oratory and debating pursuits, as this will be the basis of a future political career back in New Zealand.”

Olivia’s involvement in the arts includes achieving to level Grade 8 Trinity College in playing the piano, playing the harp, and in speech and drama. She won the Mae Lovie Cup for Drama and Sight Reading in 2016, and her involvement in public speaking has led to speaking at a number of events around Auckland, such as the Nuclear Free NZ Peace Rally.

Sport also plays an important part in her life. She was captain of the Parnell Tennis Club Premier U18 Girls’ team and of the school 2XI Football Team.

Olivia considers her main contribution to her community to be the establishment of the herTeam organisation. “I established this organisation after realising that business and politics were male-dominated fields, and that very few mentoring opportunities existed for women my age,” she says. HerTeam is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to connect female secondary school students interested in business or politics with women mentors.

The late Sir Douglas Myers set up this scholarship 18 years ago for academically gifted students intending to return to New Zealand to become leaders in their chosen fields.

Sir Douglas, a well-known businessman and former leader in the brewing industry, graduated with a BA in History from Gonville and Caius College. He was a significant supporter of education, business, sport and the arts, and this scholarship continues his outstanding legacy of finding ways to create opportunities to encourage young New Zealanders to succeed in global competition.

The scholarship provides tuition and college fees and a living allowance and is worth approximately £34,000 or NZ$60,000 per annum.

Universities New Zealand, formerly the New Zealand Vice-Chancellors’ Committee, administers this scholarship in addition to around 40 other undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships.

Applications for the 2019 Sir Douglas Myers Scholarship close on 1 December 2018.

For interviews or information, contact: Sharon Cuzens, Universities New Zealand, 027 446 3326;