Top Energy’s Chief Executive Russell Shaw is aware of the irony that the recipient for the company’s engineering scholarship lives off-grid, with power supplied by a micro-hydro unit and solar panels.

In a tough and competitive selection process, 17 year old Kaitaia College student Rewa Parsonson, has been awarded the inaugural Top Energy Engineering Scholarship, which provides $8,000 per year of study, for a maximum of four years.

Mr Shaw was impressed by the calibre of the applicants and says it was encouraging to see the degree of interest shown by local students in the scholarship programme.

Twenty applications were received which all demonstrated a high level of talent and skill across a number of disciplines, but it was Rewa’s commitment to engineering as a career that stood out.

“Not only are we interested in academic achievement but students must have a genuine interest and passion to study in the field of engineering and to continue working in that field upon completion of their study,” Mr Shaw says.

“Rewa has given a great deal of thought to his future and is also thinking of studying commerce to add to his professional skill set and employability – he is certainly a very focused young man.”

Having helped to maintain and install his parent’s off-grid power system on their 500 acre Peria block, it is unsurprising that Rewa is interested in sustainable and renewable forms of energy.

He has chosen to study electrical engineering at Auckland University, a discipline which he believes will give him the knowledge and experience to contribute to the challenges facing the energy sector.

“Renewable energy is a pioneering field of engineering and presents a multitude of possible job opportunities. Also due to the increasing growth and interest in renewable energy it presents many business possibilities,” he says.

Rewa brings a pragmatism and hands on knowledge to his chosen field of study and is adept at problem solving. He praises kiwi ingenuity, which he has clearly been exposed to growing up on land maintained through permaculture principles since 1990 with edible landscapes, native forest conservation and sustainable forestry, and eco buildings.

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 October 2017.

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:

www.topenergy.co.nz/sponsorship/36990-2

For more information please contact:

Philippa White

philippa.white@topenergy.co.nz / 021-2418740