Premier Scholarship Award winners 2017

For 2017, 11 students gained Premier Awards. These students achieved at least four New Zealand Scholarships subjects, including three or more at Outstanding level.

 Premiers only

Shih-Hao (Samuel) Chen

Pakuranga College

Outstanding Scholarships: Calculus, Chemistry, Physics and Statistics

Top Subject Scholar: Calculus

Samuel was awarded Dux of Pakuranga College and the Rae Memorial Prize for 2017.  His ability in Mathematics is demonstrated by a number of awards including High Distinction in the Australia Mathematics Competition and ICAS Mathematics. He received the Pegasus award: voted by students for outstanding service, recognising him as a role model, leader, tireless supporter and driver of school initiatives.  He was peer support leader, house leader, house captain and Board of Trustees’ student representative. Samuel was involved in a wide range of school activities including co-chairing the Interact Club, leading the UN Youth Club, being in the concert band, chess club and representing the school at tennis and volleyball.  He is completing his Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award. This year, Samuel is studying for his Bachelors in Engineering at the University of Auckland.


Roman Dunford

Wellington College

Outstanding Scholarships: Classical Studies, English, Geography and History

Scholarships: Statistics

Roman received Wellington College’s Rhodes Scholarship in 2017 and was ranked third in grade point average scores for all Year 13 students at the school.  He received the Year 13 Advanced Studies Award with Distinction, ranking among the top 15 academic students.  He was first in Spanish and was awarded the Arthur W Griffin Prize for Excellence in Modern Languages. Roman made a great contribution to the community, as a peer tutor and peer support leader, section leader of the college chorale, and coach of a junior debating team. He records a phone-in news broadcast for the New Zealand Foundation for the Blind every fortnight and has helped at the soup kitchen for the past two years. This year, Roman is studying Law and a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Otago.


Isabella Gregory

Rangi Ruru Girls' School

Outstanding Scholarships: Art History, English and Music

Scholarships: Physics

Top Subject Scholar: Art History and Music

Isabella was Proxime Accessit for 2017 at Rangi Ruru Girls’ School, was awarded the Dorothy Bates Trophy for a pupil showing outstanding potential during her years at the school, and received the Ian Stephenson Prize for passion for the environment. Isabella has been Principal Flute of the New Zealand Secondary Schools Symphony Orchestra, the Associate Principal Flute in the NZSO National Youth Orchestra and has played flute in the Christchurch Symphony and Christchurch Youth Orchestras.  As a pianist, her chamber music group was a finalist and awardee in the New Zealand Community Trust Chamber Music Contest. She was the Head of Sustainability at Rangi Ruru Girls’ School and raised environmental awareness as well as worked on her school’s carbon neutral project. This year Isabella is studying on a Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship at Victoria University of Wellington at the New Zealand School of Music.


Janice Mei Ung Ho

Macleans College

Outstanding Scholarships: Calculus, Chemistry and Physics

Scholarships: Earth and Space Science, Geography and Statistics

Janice was runner-up to Dux (Proxime Accessit) of Macleans College in 2017 and was a School Prefect and Academic Captain. She was awarded a bronze medal at the 49th International Chemistry Olympiad in Thailand 2017 and the University of Auckland Top Achiever Scholarship. Janice plays keyboard at her church and was a member of the college’s Sinfonietta Orchestra and Symphonic Band and choir. Her other interests include ballroom dance, the Malaysia-Singaporean Club, netball, fencing, hiking, kapa haka and cooking. This year, Janice is studying Engineering at the University of Auckland.


Finlay McRae

Palmerston North Boys’ High School

Outstanding Scholarships: Calculus, History and Physics

Scholarships: Chemistry and English

Top Subject Scholar: Physics

Finlay was awarded Dux Litterarum for the Outstanding Academic Pupil, the Lyndon Potts memorial trophy for outstanding character and diligence, and the Palmerston North Boys’ High School Scholarship for academic excellence.  In 2017, while at school Finlay was first in Advanced Chemistry, Advanced Physics, Advanced History, Level 3 German, Level 3 Graphics/Design and Visual Communications. Finlay was selected for the 1st XI football team and was a school prefect in Year 13. He completed the Crest to Crest multi-sport event where students run, mountain bike, road cycle and canoe from Mt Ruapehu to school over a week. This year Finlay is studying his first Professional Year of Civil Engineering at the University of Canterbury, and plans to complete his postgraduate study in Germany.


Michael O'Brien

Wellington College

Outstanding Scholarships: Classical Studies, Media Studies, Physical Education and Statistics

Scholarships: Economics, English, French and History

Top Subject Scholar: Classical Studies

Michael won a University of Otago Academic Excellence Entrance Scholarship in 2018. He was a recipient of an Advanced Studies Award with Excellence that placed him in the top academic echelon of his peers at Wellington College. He also received the McAloon Prize for Senior English Literature and the Sefton Adams Essay prize recognising his writing talent. Michael was a school prefect, a peer support leader, and was involved in multiple extra-curricular activities. He was a member of the College Premier A Debating Team that won the regional championships and earned his College Blues award as a member of the Wellington team that won the national championships. This year Michael is studying at the University of Otago focusing on Law, Political Studies, Economics and Philosophy.


Barnard Patel

Wellington College

Outstanding Scholarships: Biology, Calculus and Physics

Scholarships: Accounting, Chemistry, English and Statistics

Barnard was Dux of Wellington College in 2017, and received the Mackay Scholarship and the JR Cuddie Memorial Medal. In 2016, he represented New Zealand at the International Mathematical Olympiad in Hong Kong. Barnard was awarded a medal for first in New Zealand for the International Competitions and Assessments for Schools Science competition in 2017. He received an Advanced Studies Award with Excellence, won the Liverton prize for Senior Science, was first in Year 13 for Biology, Chemistry, English, Physics, Statistics and first equal in Calculus. Beyond his academic success, Barnard was also a school prefect, a peer support leader and a peer tutor. He volunteers at the soup kitchen and was involved in badminton, football, and table tennis. This year Barnard is studying Health Sciences at the University of Otago.


Andrew Tang

Scots College

Outstanding Scholarships: Accounting, Chemistry, Economics, Geography, Physical Education and Physics

Scholarships: Agricultural and Horticultural Science, Biology, Calculus, English, Media Studies and Statistics

Top Subject Scholar: Economics

Andrew was awarded Dux of Scots College in 2017, and was also elected the head of senior school. He was awarded the Gold Duke of Edinburgh Hillary Award, the Sir Paul Callaghan Eureka! Award and a Royal Society of New Zealand Scholarship to the London International Youth Science Forum. He represented Scots College in the distance squad at the secondary schools’ cross-country championships and represented the Wellington region at the New Zealand schools debating championships. He won the New Zealand Youth Award for his science video tutorials. This year, Andrew is studying Science and Commerce at the University of Auckland. He has recently been awarded the prestigious Girdlers' Scholarship which will enable him to study Economics at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. Andrew will commence his study in October 2018.


Alec van Helsdingen

St Peter's College (Auckland)

Outstanding Scholarships: Chemistry, Classical Studies and Statistics

Scholarships: Calculus and Physics

Alec was Dux of St Peter’s College in 2017. From Year 9 to Year 11, he competed in the University of Otago Junior Mathematics competition and was placed in the Top 30 students every year. He has competed in the International History Bee and Bowl, Australia and New Zealand. Alec was a finalist in the History Bee in 2016 and won 3rd
place in 2017. He was also on the winning team representing St Peter’s College at the History Bowl in both 2016 and 2017. Alec is a dedicated player of table tennis, he represented St Peter’s College for 5 years. This year Alec is studying at the University of Auckland for a Bachelor of Engineering and Science conjoint.


Hamish Weir

Onslow College

Outstanding Scholarships: Calculus, Chemistry, Physics and Statistics

Top Subject Scholar: Statistics

Hamish was awarded Onslow’s Top Scholar (the equivalent of Dux) in 2017. He has achieved excellence endorsement on NCEA Levels 1, 2, and 3. He has also achieved an A-plus in the University of Canterbury Advancing in Mathematical Sciences paper, a course for bright secondary school students who have excelled in Level 3 NCEA Mathematics, and was awarded a University of Canterbury Dux Scholarship. Hamish was a peer support leader, working with Year 9 students in their orientation and induction to secondary school, as well as a member of the student mediation group to resolve conflicts between students without staff involvement. He played social football and cricket for his school while also completing his Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award.  His other interests include playing piano and guitar. This year Hamish is studying Engineering at the University of Canterbury.


Yibin (Ben) Zhang

Macleans College

Outstanding Scholarships: Calculus, Chemistry and Physics

Scholarships: Biology, English, Geography, History, Media Studies, Physical Education and Statistics

Top Scholar: Chemistry

Ben returns to the Top Scholar Awards, having been awarded a New Zealand Scholarship Premier Award last year while he was a Year 12 student, as well as a Top Subject Scholar Award for Physics. He was awarded Dux of Macleans College in 2017, after being joint Dux the previous year, and was also Deputy Head Prefect. Ben was awarded the Boys’ All Rounder Cup and a Gold Medal at the International Biology Olympiad. He is also a volunteer Kidsline phone counsellor. This year, Ben is working as a research intern at the Auckland University Centre for Brain Research before beginning studying Cellular and Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at Harvard University.

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