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Benjamin Osugo - 2015 Ōtaki Scholar

posted 21 Jul 2015, 20:42 by OC Web   [ updated 21 Jul 2015, 20:53 ]
College and Community Welcome Ōtaki Scholar, Benjamin Osugo

This Monday (20th July) the 72nd Ōtaki Scholar, Benjamin Osugo, arrived in Ōtaki. A whakatau for Benjamin and three new International Students, Simon Pauka, Nicolas Wackermann and Christopher Wenserski, was held at College. Benjamin then spent the afternoon looking around the College and relaxing and recovering from his lengthy journey.

On Tuesday morning Benjamin was formally welcomed into the Ōtaki Community at a powhiri held at Raukawa Marae. After the welcome, attended by local dignitaries and College representatives, André Baker took Benjamin, together with Ōtaki College Head Girl, Clare McInerney-Heather, Head Boy, Tevita Kata and Associate Heads of School on a tour of local sites. On Tuesday evening the Scholar was hosted at the Ōtaki RSA. Tevita and Benjamin were scheduled to spend Wednesday night on Kapiti Island, courtesy of Kapiti Island Nature Tours, but unfortunately weather conditions made this impossible. Instead, Benjamin experienced local fauna and flora at Nga Manu Nature Reserve and walked the Arcus Loop at Ōtaki Forks.

Benjamin is the Captain (Head Boy) of Robert Gordon’s College in Scotland. While he grew up in Aberdeen, Benjamin has Danish and Nigerian parents and has already travelled widely. He is studying Maths, Physics and Drama at Robert Gordon’s College and intends to study Physics at university. His Head of College has described him as ‘an effective leader who is popular with his peers and commands the respect of staff.’ His relaxed and friendly approach was much appreciated by Ōtaki College students and staff.

On Thursday morning Benjamin continued on his journey, catching the ferry across Cook Strait to visit Marlborough Boys’ College. Ōtaki College and Community are proud to again be the first stop on the Scholar’s tour of New Zealand.

History of the Ōtaki Scholar
The Ōtaki Shield - a Scottish-based scholarship awarded to the head boy of Robert Gordons College in Aberdeen - rewards an outstanding pupil at the end of their final year with a seven-week trip to travel through New Zealand visiting schools and sightseeing. During his time here, he is hosted by families in the North and South islands. He attends a number of colleges 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.

College Paintings
To celebrate the long history of the Ōtaki Scholar and the establishment in 2013 of the Sander Scholar (a reciprocal scholarship providing an Ōtaki College student with the opportunity to travel to Scotland for three weeks), a series of paintings depicting the history of the Ōtaki Scholar and the links between Ōtaki College, Robert Gordon’s College and the Sander Tie Company has been commenced. These will be unveiled later in 2015. The paintings have been overseen by local artist, Wallace Trickett, who has devoted a huge amount of his time ensuring that the murals are not only fine artworks but that all details are historically correct and accurately depicted. Our thanks to Wallace and the students who have worked so hard on this project.