Off to study sharks

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The latest winner of the North Otago Irrigation Company scholarship is off to study both land and water.  Meg Knowler (17), a year 13 pupil at St Kevin’s College, will spend next year undertaking a diploma of agriculture at Lincoln University, then three years at Tauranga’s Bay of Plenty Polytechnic completing a degree in marine and environmental science, including environmental tourism. The scholarship gives her $1000 towards her study costs. She said it would be a big help as she headed off to student halls of residence. Meg, who comes from Tuatapere, has been a St Kevin’s boarder throughout her secondary schooling. Agriculture has been one of her chosen subjects. From the age of 10, she has had a fascination with sharks. She could not understand why they were seen as a deadly threat. The whale shark used to be her favourite species, but now she is interested in all sharks and dolphins. She has been in contact with people in the industry, notably ‘‘Shark Man’’ Riley Elliott. It was not easy to be accepted for the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic degree course, which was ‘‘the place to go’’, so Meg made sure she worked hard to achieve good academic grades. Tauranga was developing a student culture as demand for its courses increased, she said. Other attractions for young people included its weather and beaches. One of Meg’s friends lives there and she knows a few others in the region, including a person she met at an Outward Bound course in January. Her studies in both agriculture and environmental and marine science would qualify her for Department of Conservation work, among other possibilities