Recognising New Zealand’s Top Scholars

19 May 2021

George Yang and Rohan Kumar smiling and holding the Prime Minister's Award for Academic Excellence trophy with the Prime Minister, Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern.

The Prime Minister, Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, with the joint winners of the Prime Minister's Award for Academic Excellence - Yi Fan (George) Yang, formerly of Westlake Boys' High School, and Rohan Kumar, formerly of Hutt International Boys' School.


Former Hutt International Boys' School student Rohan Kumar and former Westlake Boys’ High School student Yi Fan (George) Yang were jointly awarded the Prime Minister’s Award for Academic Excellence at NZQA’s annual New Zealand Scholarship 2020 Top Scholar Award ceremony today.

Hon Chris Hipkins, Minister of Education, also presented Premier Awards to 12 students who had each achieved at least three Outstanding Scholarships and additional Scholarships.

The Top Scholar Awards are New Zealand’s most prestigious secondary school awards, with the Prime Minister’s Award recognising the highest overall achieving student in the 2020 New Zealand Scholarship examinations.

Nearly 200 family members, teachers and others also recognised the highest achieving students in each of the 36 New Zealand Scholarship subjects.

It will be exciting to see the future contribution each of these talented young people will make to their communities, and to the wider world,” NZQA Chief Executive Dr Grant Klinkum said.

Rohan Kumar is not only a high academic achiever but assisted with a lunchtime programme at a local primary school, and is involved with football, badminton and Seido Karate.

Mike Hutchins, Principal of Hutt International Boys' School, describes Rohan as displaying maturity beyond his years; curious about ideas and concepts, and always looking to extend his understanding.

George is a talented musician and chess player, who represented New Zealand in the Future Problem Solving World Championships last year.

Westlake Boys’ High School’s Principal, David Ferguson, describes George as intelligent, conscientious and reliable, with a considerate manner and engaging sense of humour.

NZQA Acting Board Chair, Professor Neil Quigley, opened the ceremony and presented the Top Subject Scholar Awards.

“Our top scholars worked hard in a uniquely challenging year. Each of our award winners, their whānau and schools can be very proud of their achievements,” Professor Quigley said.

More than 10,400 students entered for New Zealand Scholarship Examinations in 2020, with 2,148 students awarded one or more scholarships.

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