Craig Nelder has a knack for figuring out how things work.


The latest recipient of the Top Energy Engineering Scholarship saw the potential in an old oven and transformed it into a fish smoker by stripping its wiring and insulation.

The Okaihau College student applies the same talent to his studies. He set his mind on becoming an engineer after a 2016 school trip to Auckland where he visited universities and participated in an engineering workshop for students.

Craig is keeping his options open on whether he will become a civil or mechanical engineer but one thing is for certain, he will be a motivated student at Waikato University where he has chosen to study.

Chief Executive Russell Shaw says it is always tough to choose the successful candidate from the highly talented and intelligent Far North students that apply for the four year scholarship.

Craig’s single minded focus was a clear determining factor.

When confronted with a challenge, Craig likes to dig his toes in and work out a solution, even if it means giving up his holidays. If he is struggling with challenging concepts Craig will go to tutorials which his school offers during the term breaks and after school, so that he can maintain his high grades.

The Top Energy Engineering Scholarship provides $8,000 per year of study, for a maximum of four years. Craig is grateful that his mother drew his attention to the scholarship as it will help him achieve his goal of becoming an engineer.

He warmly acknowledges the huge support he had received from his family and his small knit community in Kaikohe. His local ties and affection for his home town are clear. On completing his degree in engineering, Craig wishes to return to the Far North to find a career in engineering to give back to the community.


Top Energy’s Engineering Scholarship aims to assist Far North students who wish to study an engineering (honours) degree, and who have already achieved an excellent academic record. Applications are welcome in August 2018.

It is part of a suite of sponsorship initiatives offered by Top Energy for the benefit of the Far North community.

These include the Electricity Rescue Helicopter – an essential lifeline for remote rural communities, and the Top Energy Business Development Fund, which offers grants to existing or new businesses which have the potential to grow the economy in the Far North.

For more information on the Engineering Scholarship please go to:

For more information please contact:
Philippa White / 021-2418740