Henry Rongomau Bennett Foundation Scholarship

Dr Henry Rongomau Bennett - Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Pikiao 

Read the Launch of the Henry Rongomau Bennett Foundation on beehive.govt.nz

The son of Bishop Frederick Augustus and Arahia Rangioue Bennett. Born in 1918 and raised in Kohupatiki in the Hawke’s Bay.

Dr Bennett won a Māori Scholarship to attend the University of Otago’s Medical School and following a time in the Medical Corps in World War II, he concentrated on the field of psychiatry. Dr Bennett later became the first Māori psychiatrist in New Zealand.

After working in Dunedin at Seacliffe Hospital, Dr Bennett went to Melbourne for his specialist psychiatric training, returning to New Zealand to work at Kingseat, (south of Auckland) and then at Carrington. Following this, Dr Bennett was the superintendent of Tokanui Hospital for 20 years. His immense contribution was acknowledged, when following the closure of Tokanui, the Waikato District Health Board named their inpatient mental health facility the Henry Rongomau Bennett Centre.

Dr Bennett’s other contributions include:  nurturing Whaiora, the first ever kaupapa Māori mental health programme; he was a member of the Mason Inquiry team that reviewed the mental health sector; and established forensic psychiatric services for Māori. He was awarded a QSO, a CBE and an honorary doctorate from the University of Waikato.

Dr Bennett stopped consulting in his later years, although he never really retired from psychiatry. He worked with his whanaunga in Rotorua, and helped out in all sorts of ways in the wider Bay of Plenty and continued his interest in Waikato University.

“There was a warmth and compassion with all that professionalism – a tenderness for his patients and their families that went beyond the call of duty”.


The Henry Rongomau Bennett Foundation Scholarships are a tribute to the life and work of Henry Rongomau Bennett as the first Māori Psychiatrist in Aotearoa New Zealand.

The purpose of the scholarship is to develop, enhance competence in Te Āo Māori, Māori leadership and Excellence in health.

The scholarship will provide funding towards:

  • The completion of undergraduate studies that lead to a qualification relevant to working in Māori leadership roles in health, the mental health and addiction treatment sector or
  • The completion of postgraduate studies for Māori working in (or plan to work in) leadership roles in health, the mental health and addiction treatment sector. 


Candidates must be:

  • Of Māori decent.
  • A New Zealand citizen or New Zealand permanent resident.
  • Studying in New Zealand at a recognised New Zealand tertiary institution.
  • Studying health, mental health, addiction, leadership in health.
  • A current leader in the health sector or potential leader aspiring to work in Māori health leadership roles across the health, mental health and or the addiction sector. 

This includes kaumātua and kuia, mental health nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists, recruitment of doctors into psychiatry or medical students who are committed to the mental health and addictions sector.


The value of the scholarship is up to $5,000.00, subject to study hours, fees, course related costs, and any other grants or scholarships awarded in 2017.



  • Complete an online application with all required information attached or provided to the scholarships team before the closing date.
  • Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.



Applications open: 1 November 2016

Applications close: 16 January 2017 at 5.00pm

Good luck to all the applicants!

For information on our scholarships and awards programmes please contact our Te Rau Matatini Scholarships Team on 0800 MATATINI (0800 628 284) or e-mail us.

Please take some time to watch and learn about this rangatira, this leader and achiever - Dr Henry Rongomau Bennett.