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Ōtaki Scholar/Sander Scholar

The Ōtaki Shield - a Scottish-based scholarship awarded to the head boy of Robert Gordon's College in Aberdeen - rewards an outstanding pupil at the end of their final year with a seven-week trip to to travel through New Zealand visiting schools and sightseeing.  A reciprocal scholarship was established at Ōtaki College in 2013 - the Sander Scholarship.  This is awarded to an outstanding Ōtaki College school leader, allowing the Scholar to travel to Scotland for two weeks in January following graduation. 

The Centenary Commemoration Services in Otaki, New Zealand, and Aberdeen, Scotland:

During his time here, the Ōtaki Scholar is hosted by families in the North and South islands. He attends a number of colleges (including Ōtaki College) and acts as an ambassador as well as addressing students on the history behind the scholarship.

The scholarship commemorates a sea battle fought in the Atlantic during World War 1, involving Capt Archibald Bisset Smith, a former pupil of Robert Gordons College. The New Zealand Shipping Company merchant ship SS Ōtaki was critically damaged in March 1917 by a German raider and Capt Smith ordered the ship's evacuation before he went down with the vessel. Capt Archibald Bisset Smith was awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery and devotion to duty and in 1937 his family presented the Ōtaki Shield to the college, to be given annually to the school's head boy.

The New Zealand Shipping Company traditionally offered a free passage to the winner but the New Zealand Government now assists with air fares and some accommodation.

Gregory Jones (2009)
Michael Sarawyn (2010)
Daniel McFarlane (2011)
Sean Press (2012)
Craig Brownhill
Hamish Atkins
Benjamin Osugo
Read more about Benji's visit ...

Jamie Seedhouse
Read more about
Jamie's visit ...


Fraser Cowie
Read more about Fraser's visit ...
Cameron Stephen
(2018) Read More Above
Rohan Mudkavi

Read more about Rohan's visit ... 

Use the links below to open accounts by past Sander Scholars or the history of the Ōtaki Scholar.   Use the arrow on the right-hand side of this page to download a copy to your computer.