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Crystal Kusabs urges students to apply for Onuku education grants

Crystal Kusabs is urging young people looking at studying to apply for education grants from the Onuku Maori Lands Trust.


The trust makes provision yearly to provide grants for the children of beneficial owners of shares the trust.


Crystal says students looking at study prospects should not be shy in coming forward for grants.


She started out in 1998 when the trust was paid scholarships to a few recipients, before the change to the grant system.


“Studying is hard,” she says. “You look at your friends out working and you don’t have much money.”


The trust contributions helped her greatly in continuing with studying and finishing with a very small student loan.


Crystal initially studied and was awarded a Diploma in Business Management, and followed this up with a Bachelor of Media Arts majoring in Communication.


Although she has concentrated on business administration, Crystal says the communications study is helping her in her current role at the Perpetual Guardian office in Rotorua.  Perpetual Guardian is the custodian trustee for Onuku Maori Lands Trust.


She worked for five years in the banking sector and for two years in the media.


“I have been able to come here with my business management skills and communication has enabled me to fulfil my role.  I deal a lot with the owners as well as administrative tasks.”


She says the work with Perpetual Guardian is very much a specialist role, so understanding is required regarding Maori land issues.


“You have to be sensitive to how they want things communicated to them and have to have a good relationship with the Maori Land Court.”


She advises to study as much as possible and go on to study after leaving school.


“It’s a great experience socially and it’s a great experience for what you are going to learn.  If you don’t know what grants you are entitled to, talk to other whanau members, ring local firms, and don’t be shy to apply.”


She recalls how, when she was applying for scholarships, she wasn’t too sure she would receive them, figuring they were only for students who received 100 per cent. 


“That’s not the case – the trusts are here to support their whanau and education is really important to them,” Crystal says.


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