A trust founded by local farmer David Johnstone has awarded $180,000 in scholarships to new students at Waikato tertiary institutions.
Thirty six students received a $5000 scholarship at a presentation held at the Waikato Stadium recently.
David Johnstone was a well-known farming identity in the Waikato. At the age of 62 he sold his immediate family’s farm in Whatawhata and took on Orini Downs, a 1000-hectare farm at Orini. He was a founding member and benefactor to the National Fieldays, and gifted the Pukemokemoke Bush Reserve to the nation in 1991.
David Johnstone was born in 1909 into one of the areas strongest and oldest pioneering and farming families. One of eight children, he left school at an early age to help to run the family farm after his father drowned while crossing the flooded Waipa River.
Mr Johnstone was ‘man-powered’ out of the Army in 1940, in a practice whereby the most able men – those considered to be of a calibre that the community could not do without – were held back from service in World War II.
Many years of hard work – and trial and error – made him a success in his field, but he harboured a lifelong wish to have had a better education. His answer was to form the David Johnstone Charitable Trust and one of its principal objectives is to assist young people in furthering their education. The trust, managed by Guardian Trust, has distributed nearly $1 million in the last five years.
The scholarships are awarded annually to new secondary-school graduates starting at Waikato University (for those pursuing a science or teaching degree) or Waikato Institute of Technology (any field of study), the two major tertiary institutions in the region.