A kitchen assistant from Hilda Ross Retirement Village has wowed the family of Graeme Rabbits with his impressive attributes and marked him as the clear winner of this year’s Graeme Rabbits scholarship award.
The scholarship will see Angus Newell receive three years of funding and support from Ryman towards achieving his study goals whilst also serving as a tribute to the construction worker who lost his life on site in 2018.
Angus, who has worked at Ryman’s Hamilton village for a year, has pledged to honour the legacy of Graeme by studying hard in his upcoming Bachelor degree in Business with a major in finance.
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The Rabbits family listed several qualities that stood out from Angus’s application which confirmed for them that they had the right person.
“We are so happy to select someone with good values, a strong moral compass and a willingness to help others as Graeme’s scholarship recipient,” they said.
“We believe Angus is an inspiration to others, and we look forward to seeing his future developments.”
Angus, 19, said it was a ‘huge honour’ to receive the award.
“The possibility that I could in some small way be a part of Graeme’s legacy is incredibly humbling and the support I will now receive will enable me to improve the lives of those I interact with.”
The route that Angus took to get to this point in life was unconventional to say the least.
At 16, the former Hamilton Boys High School student decided he wanted to join the British Army and nothing could sway him from this mission.
“My family was supportive, although my mother was apprehensive,” he admits.
“My father was in the Royal Air Force and I’m a big fan of military history, especially British military history, and I think I had this rather romantic idea of what life would be like in the Army.”
The experience, being halfway around the world and with the global pandemic playing out at the same time, was life-changing and certainly character building, he says, and he was successful at it too.
But after two years, he decided the New Zealand Army might be a better fit and he came home and applied to join as an officer.
It came as a surprise when his application was turned down, but then three weeks later he was offered a role as a military intelligence officer.
“I declined it! I realised in that three weeks that a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders and that the things I had craved and valued from a military career were not unique to the military and I could get them elsewhere as well.
“I also realised that while I received a lot of positive reaction for knowing what I wanted to do, success isn’t the only measure in life.”
Angus decided to channel an interest in financial literacy that had begun at school and combine it with his love of building relationships with people.
“I am fascinated with the concept of money. Because of all the emotion involved with it and then how a financial situation can impact an individual in their lives. And the importance of trust in those financial relationships.”
Angus hopes to eventually work as a financial adviser so that he can help to improve lives by assisting people with their financial decisions.
While completing his bridging course for university he worked part time at Hilda Ross, and it was then that he fell in love with the company that he’d first come across as a young investor.
Because of his positive experiences while interacting with residents and always striving to meet Ryman’s standard of being ‘good enough for mum and dad’, Angus will continue to work part time at the village while studying and also hopes longer term to bring all his newfound skills back to Ryman, and explore further opportunities within the company.
“I really love this company, it is such a privilege to work somewhere that has an unconditional commitment to kindness and empathy,” he says.
And with these new ambitions ahead of him, it looks like Angus’s achievements are good enough for his own mum too.
“My family were amazed when they heard the news and so happy and proud of me which was nice.
“My mum always saw a future for me at Ryman. She knows my ability to connect with people and develop relationships so she thinks I will progress with Ryman.”
The village team couldn’t be more proud of their impressive young colleague.
Assistant Manager Sue Wickham said: “Angus is a very special young man, who residents, staff and family members all enjoy interacting with.
“As a team, we are all thrilled that Angus has been chosen for the Graeme Rabbits scholarship and we have no doubt that he will strive to reach his educational goals.”