Named in honour of New Zealand’s greatest adventurer, the programme educates scholars within the values of Sir Edmund Hillary and supports their growth and excellence in sport, creative and performing arts, academia, and leadership.

Hillary Scholars are supported to pursue their passion while completing their qualification at the University of Waikato, and receive tailored personal development and leadership training throughout their studies.

If you exhibit leadership capabilities, excel academically, and have achieved in sport, or creative or performing arts, you might be eligible to apply for the Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship programme.

Applications close on the 31st August 2023

Current Canoe Slalom Scholars

Jaimee Wilson

​​​​​​​Nick Collier

Claudia Paterson

Claudia Paterson is in her fourth year of a Bachelor of Laws with Honours and a double major in Political Science. She first became involved in kayaking through multisport racing, and quickly became hooked on the exhilaration and adrenaline of the sport. Claudia has been doing canoe slalom for seven years, and competes in both K1 (kayak) and C1 (canoe) events.Claudia has had significant national and international success, qualifying for the semi-finals 2017 Junior World Championships in Slovakia. She came third in the U23 age group at the 2018 New Zealand Nationals and won the Under 18 age group at the Oceania Canoe Slalom Championships.Claudia has also been involved with the Tauranga City Council Youth Advisory Group, the Pinnacle Programme, and Duke of Edinburgh Programme. She also competes in surf lifesaving and participates in speech and drama. Claudia has volunteered with IHC for over four years and recently worked as a support worker over the summer.She is passionate about supporting those with disabilities and hopes to use her law degree to advocate for vulnerable groups of people.

Jaimee Wilson

Playing canoe polo with her mum led Jaimee Wilson into the sport of canoe slalom which has seen her compete around the world.The former Taradale High School student has competed in the Oceania Championships, Krakow Mayor Cup, Flattach European Cup and Augsburg European Cup over the past five years.She says travelling to Europe to race has been the highlight of her sporting achievements to date, visiting Germany, Austria and Poland. Jaimee trains six days a week for around 12 hours in total, out in her kayak and at the gym.Jaimee says one of the most challenging things about canoe slalom is trying to remember every aspect of a course and a river and being able to visualise kayaking it before she races."I love the sport because there is always a new way to challenge myself and the adrenaline of paddling in white water makes everything about it fun," says Jaimee.At Taradale High School she was the sport prefect and co-captain of the 1st XI girls' hockey team. She also spent time coaching junior canoe slalom athletes for Hawkes Bay Canoe Club.Jaimee will study a Bachelor of Environmental Planning and hopes to eventually work with councils in the area of resource sustainability. She also hopes to make the senior canoe slalom team and compete at world cup and world championship events.

Nick Collier

Nick only began kayaking seven years ago, but he's already become one of the top paddlers in the country for his age. He was drawn to canoe slalom after watching his older brother competing at various national events and decided to try it out for himself. Since then he's found a passion for all aspects of the sport.The former Dunstan High School prefect from Alexandra has competed nationally and internationally, but the 2021 season was a standout for him, placing first in the U18s and overall at the South Island champs, second U18 and fourth overall at the North Island champs, third U18 at the New Zealand Open, 7th overall at Oceania champs, first U18 at the New Zealand national secondary schools, first U18 and 4th overall at the New Zealand nationals and he was selected to represent New Zealand at the Junior World Championships in Slovenia.Nick will be studying towards a Bachelor of Business at the University of Waikato and keeping up his training of up to 12 hours a week.Alongside canoe slalom, Nick also competes in canoe freestyle, canoe polo and extreme slalom. In 2020 he placed second in the U18 freestyle at the Australian Open – a highlight of his sporting career so far. He was recently selected for the New Zealand U18 B canoe polo team and is also the U18 national secondary school extreme slalom champion.

Who can apply?

  • Students who excel academically, and in sports or creative performing arts
  • School leavers who have/or will have achieved an NCEA Level 2 Certificate with Merit or Excellence and University Entrance
  • School leavers who have/or will have achieved the equivalent to the above in the Cambridge International examinations or the International Baccalaureate examinations
  • Students intending to study at the University of Waikato at either the Hamilton or Tauranga campus
  • Students with demonstrated leadership potential

What do you receive?

  • A scholarship worth up to $10,000 per year for full-time undergraduate enrolment
  • Personalised academic support
  • Leading coaches/tutors in your area of sports/arts
  • Leadership skills and personal development coaching
  • And more...

How do I apply?

  • Applications are due by 31 August each year, prior to starting study in March the following year.
  • You can contact the University's High Performance Student Scholarship Manager to discuss your application.
  • An Online Application Form is available from the University of Waikato Scholarships website.
  • Applicants are required to submit a 3-minute video of themselves outlining why they should be a Hillary Scholar and what it would mean to them.
  • As a number of references are required for the Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship we suggest that you give yourself plenty of time to complete the online application process.