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Principal trustee and former Waihī College principal Harry Shepherd, left, Trust chairperson Doreen McLeod, scholarship recipients Erika Serenado, Zac McKechnie, and Sean Choi, and Waihī College principal Alistair Cochrane. Photo: SUPPLIED

Trust marks 30 years supporting college

More than $1 million has been contributed to Waihī College by the Waihī Gold Mining Education Trust over the past 30 years.
Chair Doreen McLeod told The Profile the trust, which is funded by the community, was established in 1992 by the Waihī Gold Mining Company, currently owned by OceanaGold, to give back to Waihī College to support its students.

“By assisting with their education facilities and the top five students [at Waihī College] gaining a scholarship each year means they can go on to tertiary education with some sort of financial backing,” she said.
“I just had a look at last year’s [recipients] and we’ve got [a student who received a scholarship for] Bachelor of Civil Engineering and he was going to use his money towards a high tech laptop to run [computer aided-design] and 3D modelling.
“They blow my mind… these guys and girls really are aiming for the top.”
Doreen said the trust, which has five other trustees, started its journey with a $25,000 donation to Waihī College annually, but now it donated $58,000 each year.
Of that funding, $38,000 will be used to provide additional equipment and materials, with $4000 allocated to scholarships for the top five students to assist with their tertiary studies.
The purpose of the funding was to support college and tertiary students; to relieve students of financial hardship; to assist students by complementing available funding and to provide further educational facilities.
“I’m always pushing to get more money out of the mining company or anyone who would give us money, like Masonic Lodge, so I hope the trust continues and other people might come on as well,” Doreen said.
The trust met each year with the principal and a student representative to discuss projects that may need additional funding.
“They can get equipment that probably a lot of other schools can’t afford to have in the technology and computer areas,” Doreen said. “The software for product design for plastics and wood and metal work, that’s all supplied by the trust, and even things like student welfare and the breakfast club, so that’s helping students right across the board.
“The college is very supportive and I’m sure that they find it very beneficial.”
Doreen said the trust had also financially supported kapa haka performances, first aid training and upgrades to the college hall within its 30 years.
A celebration for the trust marking 30 years was held last month at Waihī College with trustees, OceanaGold staff and alumni who received scholarships from the trust.