Posted by David Conroy on Oct 15, 2018
With the critical assistance of a Rotary Foundation scholarship, thanks to local Rotarians and the Rotary Foundation, Kiribati-born Bernie MacKenzie has arrived in Oxford, England for the start of his 12 month's study towards a Master of Science in Migration Studies degree.
 
Bernard Teruka MacKenzie, or Bernie as he would like to be known, is a 2016 graduate of the University of Canterbury. He was born in Kiribati, but grew up in Fiji and then here in New Zealand. Prior to his studies at Canterbury, Bernie played rugby in Christchurch and also for a time in Japan where he met his wife Mika. Injury ended a chance of a professional rugby playing career.

Earlier this year Bernie approached Bishopdale-Burnside Rotary Club for assistance with his plan to study at Oxford University. Thanks to efforts by Club Secretary David Conroy and District Foundation Chair David Drake, an application to the Rotary Foundation for funding of Bernie as a Rotary Scholar was successful. Bernie and the two David’s together worked through the considerable paperwork involved, with help from UK Rotary District 1090 - which supports the four Oxford Rotary clubs to host 10 to 20 Foundation Scholars from around the world each year. Bernie's circumstances warranted the maximum grant available from the Foundation.

When addressing members of Bishopdale-Burnside Rotary Club before his departure, Bernie spoke of his goals post-study; he intends to focus on his homeland of Kiribati, a chain of low-lying atolls in the Central Pacific challenged by rising sea levels - impacting on the economy and the people of the islands.