Tiaki gains scholarship AND a scholarship!


In behind the scenes, behind the cameras and the limelight, Tiaki has quietly been picking up some very significant accolades.

Over the past seven years, Year 13 student Tiaki Sharp has been pursuing his passions and honing his speech and drama skills through private tutoring, participation in school plays and productions, public  speaking and through sitting a number of external speech and drama exams. 

Last year, as a Year 12 student, Tiaki gained scholarship in Drama. His teacher, Verity Davidson noted, “This is an exam that is usually undertaken by Year 13 students. As a Year 12, it is a huge achievement for Tiaki to achieve at this level. We are thrilled and very proud of Tiaki.”

In addition to his school exams, Tiaki has spent the last few years taking Trinity College London exams, reaching Grade 8 in Drama and passing the majority of these with distinction. 

And if that wasn’t enough, Tiaki has been working towards an Associate of Speech NZ Diploma in Speech and Drama (ASB) through the New Zealand Speech Board and he also sat that exam last year. It was a complete surprise to find out last month that he had been awarded a scholarship!

Kim Penman of Speech New Zealand writes, “Tiaki Sharp, has been successful in receiving the Speech New Zealand ‘ASB & AASB Speech & Drama Scholarship’ for 2021. The Scholarship committee felt Tiaki was a very deserving candidate and are thrilled to grant him this scholarship.”

Only one student per year is awarded this scholarship and Tiaki was up against several others for it, including those who had already sat their advanced associate exams. 

In talking to Tiaki about this incredible accolade he said, “I didn’t actually go for the scholarship, I just went for the exam but then I got the news afterwards that when I passed with distinction, I was put forward for the scholarship…I was not expecting to get the scholarship at all, I didn’t even know that it was a thing at the time, but very happy that I did.”

While the exam was performance and presentation based with no written component, there was a lot of research Tiaki had to do in preparation.

“I had to look two playwrights, two poets, two short story authors and two novelists and I had to remember all of them and essentially give a little bit of a talk on how we’ve changed over the last 50 years, since the 70’s.”

Now that he’s graduated with an ASB diploma in speech and drama, Tiaki is planning on going for the ASB diploma in public speaking later this year. He’s also intending to sit his Trinity College London ATCL diploma, something he had hoped to do last year however there were no judges available. Having completed Grade 8, the ATCL is the final certification step to gain the diploma. 

When asked what led Tiaki to get into speech and drama all those years ago he replied, “Acting’s always just been a passion of mine, as well as public speaking. My Mum told me about a tutor that I could go to outside of school and I said ‘yep’ and I’ve been going to her for about seven years now.”

While the tutoring and exams have all taken place behind the scenes, Tiaki has made the most of opportunities to participate in a range of public speaking and drama activities at Nayland College. Last year Tiaki was a member of the winning team in the senior finals at the regional debating championships and he also played ‘Enoch Snow’ in Nayland College’s outstanding musical performance of  ‘Carousel’ at the Theatre Royal. 

The ‘ladies’ blush with excitement as Enoch Snow (played by Tiaki Sharp) arrives. — Image by: Lucy Buckley

With one more year at Nayland College, Tiaki has been thinking about what he might like to do in the future. At this stage his goal is “definitely to get a job in the film industry. I’m not sure what as. Acting would definitely be the top choice for me but it’s unclear what I would really do.”

When asked what advice he would give to any other students interested in pursuing speech and drama he replied, “If you’ve got skills, or you’ve got talent, or you even just want to do it, hone every single ability that you have and that you can use, because that is what is going to get you through it.”

Congratulations Tiaki and we look forward to seeing where your talents take you!

By Sarah Luton