Anaru Palmer has his sights set on becoming a better person by making the world a better place – an ambitious quest that he is already taking bold steps to accomplish.
Anaru, 20, has been selected as a participant in the 2021 Tuia Mayoral Mentoring Programme to work alongside Western Bay Mayor Garry Webber.
The Tuia programme hand picks outstanding rangatahi Māori who have the potential to contribute to their community.
The year-long programme aims to develop leadership in young Māori and involves each student in one-on-one mentoring with their local mayor.
The programme also involves each student undertaking community contribution of their choosing and attending five wānanga in different parts of the country to build networks and mix with a diverse range of people.
Anaru, of Ngāi Te Rangi and Ngāti Ranginui iwi, is quietly building up an impressive CV that he hopes will help him on his journey to be an ambassador for international relations and indigenous rights – not only in his own country of Aotearoa, but globally.
The former Tauranga Boys’ College head prefect is now at The University of Waikato where he is studying a Bachelor of Social Sciences in Political Science and Māori and Indigenous Studies.
In 2019 Anaru gained a Diploma in Te Tohu Paetahi, a total immersion Māori language programme – at The University of Waikato Tauranga Campus. For the past two years he has returned to Tauranga Boys’ as a kaiāwhina in the bi-lingual unit – fitting this work in around his university studies.
In his final year at Boys’ College, Anaru topped level three Te Reo Māori and received the Ngāti Pūkenga Rangatiratanga Award for leadership, the Norman Morris Prize for Head Prefect, the Monte Ohia Trophy for top Māori student and the Silver Spoon service award.
He also gained The University of Waikato Te Ara Whānui and Tauranga Campus First-in-Family Scholarships, worth a total of $11,000. Last year Anaru received a $3000 scholarship from TECT as part of the Tauranga Campus Returning Students scholarship for university.
Western Bay Mayor Garry Webber says Anaru has been selected for Tuia because of his desire to be a part of the programme, his community involvement and the strength of his academic and scholarship achievements at College and University.
“In the selection of Tuia participants it is important we find people such as Anaru who are already showing leadership at a young age in school and in further education.
“Through his time with Tuia this year Anaru will gain a better understanding of leadership and the importance of being able to walk in both worlds – Māori and Pākehā. From my perspective, I have a great deal to learn from Anaru – particularly in tikanga Māori. Together we will learn from each other.”
Anaru sees his time working with Mayor Garry as a chance to gain insight into the politics of local government and to gain understanding of how he can embrace the non-Māori aspects of life.
“I feel blessed and grateful to have the Mayor as a mentor and to have the opportunity of Te Tuia to further enable me to achieve my ambitions and develop my character.
“I want to be able to walk with confidence between the two worlds and to find a balance in both. I’m just going to dive in and embrace this great opportunity with an open mind and learn as much as I can from the wisdom of the Mayor.”