University of Auckland student Rhieve Grey is one of just three young New Zealanders awarded the prestigious 2020 Rhodes Scholarship

Rhieve (Ngāti Tūwharetoa ki Taupō, Ngāti Manunui, Ngāti Porou) is completing a BSc (Hons) in Psychology in the Faculty of Science, focusing on the Treatment and Prevention for Māori youth with harmful sexual behaviours. He has been accepted into Clinical Psychology programme, which has competitive entry based on grades and extra-curricular involvement.

That extra-curricular component is based firmly on Rhieve’s outstanding mahi as a leader, mentor, researcher and facilitator working with Māori and Pasifika youth, both through his school career and then at university.

As one of his referees noted: “Rhieve has clear long-term aspirations to support and develop Māori and improve their outcomes across New Zealand.”

For two years, he volunteered in the Mount Eden Corrections Facility, helping inmates with goal setting and qualification acquisition, and hosting on impulsivity and critical thinking around actions, working particularly with those in the youth unit.

Rhieve is working as a Tuākana teaching mentor at the University, part of a programme established to boost the engagement and achievement of Māori and Pasifika students. He has also been a facilitator for a Māori and Pasifika leadership programme that aims to equip students with the leadership abilities required of them in an academic setting.

“I am blessed to be descended from [a] successful whakapapa and it has translated into much of the success I now reap,” he says.

Early last year, in response to New Zealand’s high suicide rates, particularly among young men, Rhieve created and hosted a podcast (Hard Yarns), contributing to the normalisation of conversations around mental health.

In 2018 he received the University of Auckland Mātariki Rising Stars Award for academic achievement and all-round excellence and was awarded the prestigious Kupe Leadership Scholarship (2019/20). A well as financial support, Kupe scholars are assigned mentors from community, corporate and political domains to help them develop leadership attributes.

Rhieve is committed to helping combat the social inequities faced by Māori as well as all indigenous peoples the world over. At Oxford, he plans to study for a Masters in Evidence-Based Intervention and Policy Evaluation and a Masters of Public Policy.