2014 Sander Scholar - Alana Fraser

Alana Fraser was Ōtaki College’s 2014 Sander Scholar. Alana travelled to Scotland in January for a two week visit to Robert Gordon’s College in Aberdeen. On her return Alana said “Robert Gordon’s College is absolutely breath taking. Steeped in so much history, their buildings and the many other buildings and places that I visited showed me that New Zealand is such a young country and nation. I felt like I was home when I met the Principal, teachers and students. They were so friendly and welcoming. Most days I would go to the College and speak to students of different age groups. I would focus my presentations on the history of Ōtaki, the links between my town and Robert Gordon’s College, the link between Sander Apparel and my scholarship to visit the College. I would also focus on the revival of our language which generated a lot of response because Scotland is looking at ways to revitalise its traditional language too.”

Highlights of the trip were experiencing Ceilidh – Scottish folk dancing – and a highland tour to the Isle of Skye. Alana was also thrilled to be taken on a surprise visit to Fraser Castle, which is not usually open for tours in winter. “This, along with my experience at the Culloden Battle Field, finding out about the history of my Clan and where my ancestors fought and some passed, was an extremely special and spiritual experience. My Scottish side is something I’ve always wanted to get in touch with as I am heavily aware of my Māori Whakapapa.”

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank many people for trusting me with this prestigious award:

  • Shelley McCrae, Director - Sander Ties for making this scholarship possible

  • Ōtaki College for nurturing me for 5 years and giving me the chance to lead the college as Head Girl in my final year

  • Rex Kerr for the richness of historic information pertaining to the SS Ōtaki and its links to the town of Ōtaki

  • Nga Hapu o Ōtaki for their ongoing manaakitanga for this kaupapa each year

  • Robert Gordon's College – for welcoming me and looking after me throughout my trip”

View Alana's presentation on her trip.