Motu Thesis Scholarship

Applications for the Motu Thesis Scholarship are now open.


Every year, the Motu Research and Education Foundation offer a one-year $10,000 scholarship to a promising university student of Māori descent planning to work on an Honours, Masters or PhD thesis. The preference is that this topic be in economics, or some other social science, and use a quantitative methodology.

“Through this scholarship, we hope to enhance Māori research capacity and encourage students of Māori descent to develop an interest in researching topics relevant to public policy development,” said Adam B Jaffe, Director of Motu Economic and Public Policy Research Trust.

One of Motu’s key tasks is to build New Zealand’s capacity for economic and public policy research. Part of this is to improve the capacity and ability of individuals, groups and institutions to carry out empirical and theoretical research on New Zealand public policy through training, collaboration, and sponsorship of students or researchers.

“Our aim is to make New Zealand a more attractive location for top researchers, including expatriate New Zealanders, to work,” said Adam Jaffe. “We figure if we help the good ones while they’re young, they might remember us fondly as they mature.”

More information on the scholarship can be found on the Motu website www.motu.org.nz. The deadline for scholarship applications is 16 December. If you are interested in getting more info on this scholarship, email Isabelle Sin at recruitment@motu.org.nz.

Some past recipients of the scholarship include:

Lucy Cowie (Ngāti Ranginui), the 2015 recipient, is completing her honours degree in Psychology. Her dissertation focused on the role of Māori identity in predicting the extent to which people endorse environmentalism. Lucy is a research assistant at the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study in the School of Psychology at the University of Auckland.

Lara Greaves (Ngāti Kurī, Te Āti Awa, Ngāpuhi) during her scholarship year in 2014, Lara’s Master’s Thesis looked at proposed research on quantitative models of Māori mental, physical and financial health based on identity. She received an A+ for this work, which has now been published. Lara continues to work as the Lab Manager for The New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study, in the School of Psychology at University of Auckland. She is now a PhD student investigating how different aspects of Māori identity predict voting behaviour.

Dr George Gray (Ngaiterangi, Ngāti Ranginui) was already a Doctor when he received the scholarship in 2008. He used the money to complete a Master’s in Public Health on the economic evaluation of cardiac rehabilitation in New Zealand at existing and increased attendance rates for Māori and non-Māori.

Dale Warburton (Te Āti Awa) was the first scholarship recipient in 2007. He was also an intern at Motu, where he focussed on female labour supply in New Zealand. His Master’s in Geography Thesis at Victoria University was on the effect of unpaid work on employment rates among young Māori and non-Māori females.

About Motu
Motu Economic and Public Policy Research is an independent economic research institute which never advocates an expressed ideology or political position. A charitable trust, Motu is founded on the belief that sound public policy depends on sound research accompanied by well-informed and reasoned debate. It is supported by the Motu Research and Education Foundation, which ensures Motu’s stability and independence and develops the policy spill-over benefits from Motu’s research.

Motu is the top-ranked economics organisation in New Zealand. It is in the top ten global economic think tanks, according to the Research Papers in Economics (RePEc) website, which ranks all economists and economic research organisations in the world based on the quantity and quality of their research publications.