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When a bird species or subspecies becomes extinct, what happens to the plants that are reliant on that bird for re-pollination? Most of us never consider the problem, but Kiwi PhD candidate Richard Pender is devoting his doctoral study to examining how endangered plants can reproduce in the absence of their pollinators.
Christchurch-born Mr Pender is expanding his passion for horticulture at the University of Hawaii, thanks to a sizeable contribution from the J R Templin Trust Scholarship, managed by Guardian Trust.
The scholarship was established by an American-born electrical engineer who settled in New Zealand in 1910 and fell in love with both the country and a Kiwi woman. Mr Templin was passionate about engineering and horticulture and set up a charitable trust to support study in the two fields by offering future generations of Kiwi postgraduate students the opportunity to study at a United States university.
Since 1993 the Templin Trust has granted close to $1 million to New Zealand students. Mr Pender has received a total of $31,420 USD from the trust towards his studies, $16,420 USD in 2011 alone.
Guardian Trust’s general manager of personal client services Philip Morgan-Rees says trusts such as the Templin Trust are invaluable to those seeking higher education.
“Guardian Trust continues to manage trusts that have been left by those fortunate enough to be able to do so. The ongoing legacy of many can be seen in the work and research being undertaken by students such as Richard Pender, the latest recipient of the Templin Trust Scholarship.”
A unique clause of the Templin Trust Scholarship states that those who study overseas are to come back to New Zealand and contribute to the industry of their chosen field for two years. Richard Pender is due to complete his studies at the end of this year and says he is looking forward to using the knowledge he gained directly with New Zealand fauna and flora.
“My extensive studies and research at the Manoa Campus in Honolulu at the University of Hawaii have given me a well-rounded understanding of how pollinator and seed disperser loss affects native plants. It is a question that is of global concern, and the questions I am addressing in Hawaii can be directly applied to New Zealand’s flora”.
With Honolulu being one of the United States’ most expensive cities to live in, Mr Pender says the Templin funding is vital to his study.
Daniel Di Somma, the 2010 recipient of the Templin Trust Scholarship, is studying towards a Masters in Electricity Markets at the Illinois Institute of Technology.
He says, “Studying at a college in the United States is an immensely broadening, interesting and fun undertaking, but it’s also an expensive one. The Templin Trust Scholarship has brought the act of studying in the United States within fiscal reach for those interested in horticulture and engineering.”