The Hastings Hibernian Education Trust wants to support the educational needs of students at Catholic primary and secondary schools in New Zealand, but no one has responded to the trust’s invitation for funding applications this year.
The president of the St Joseph’s branch (172) of the Hibernian Catholic Benefit Society, Mike Martin, told NZ Catholic that letters and application forms were sent to 160 parishes throughout the country in mid-September. The document stated that money was available to help students.
A month later, two weeks before applications closed on November 1, no applications had been received, Mr Martin said.
“Surely, all our emails can’t have ended up in ‘the round file’?” Mr Martin said.
He said that the trust had $5000 available in total this year for distribution to support students’ education. For a variety of reasons, including legal work being done on the trust deed, administration updating and a temporary lack of sufficient funds, this was the first distribution the trust has been able to make since 2016. The money for distribution derives from interest earned on a fund administered by the trust, which was set up in the 1980s. Mr Martin said that, as of October 4, 2022, the fund stood at approximately $62,000.
The application form states that the objects of the trust, as established, “are to generally provide support for the educational needs of children who practise the Catholic religion, provided they reside in New Zealand, and are nominated either by a branch of the Hibernian Society in New Zealand, or by their parish priest”.
According to the application form, assistance from the trust may be in the form of supplementing costs of fees, books, travel and/or accommodation overheads. Those applying are asked to supply a brief history of scholastic record, as well as any present or previous scholarships. Future career objectives should also be stated.
Mr Martin said that notices about the financial support and applications had always been sent to parish priests in the past, as they were required to sign the application form in most cases. But consideration could be given to sending the forms to school principals in future, he added.
He noted that a planned re-written trust deed will state that preference will be given to students of “Hibernian parents or grandparents”.