Surfer Raiha Ensor, of Te Whānau a Apanui, Tainui, Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāi Te Rangi and Ngāi Tuhoe, has been awarded the Skills Active Māori Sport Scholarship.
Since 1999, Skills Active, in partnership with Te Tohu Taakaro o Aotearoa Charitable Trust, have provided the $5,000 Māori Sports scholarship for promising and outstanding Māori athletes in support of their sporting and academic careers.
This year, the scholarship was open to any male or female athlete of Māori descent, aged from 16 to 20, who is achieving outstanding results at regional, national or international level, and is committed to furthering their education.
Having grown up in Mt Maunganui, Raiha has been surfing since she was eight years old. She is now studying towards a Bachelor of Health, Sport and Human Performance at the University of Waikato, but still finds time to be on the water for at least two hours every day.
19-year-old Raiha is the current Women’s National Surfing Champion, having taken out the title at the 2018 National Surfing Championships. She leads the 2018 open women’s rankings with one event remaining. She intends to retain her lead and win the 2018 series title, and she also has her sights set on retaining her Championship title in 2019.
Raiha also achieved 9th place in the 2017 World Surfing Games (Open), and came 7th and 9th respectively in the 2016 and 2017 World Junior Surfing Championships.
She is a member of the New Zealand Surfing team and aspires to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, when surfing will be included for the first time.
The scholarship will be used to help fund Raiha’s studies and the costs of training and competing.
Skills Active chief executive Dr. Grant Davidson says the organisation is thrilled to be able to support such a hard-working and gifted young athlete, in a dynamic sport that highlights our beautiful marine environment.
“We have no doubt Raiha is destined for great achievements both in sport and in her education, and we are proud to be a part of her journey.
“Each year there are many deserving young Māori athletes who could receive the scholarship. Although it is always difficult to select one scholar, it is exciting to see the huge breadth of talent and potential in the Māori sporting world.”