Latest Ryman news

Ryman reveals 2024 Sir James Wattie scholar

Written by Maryvonne Gray
on July 05, 2024

Outstanding Hawke’s Bay business student Amy Saunders has been awarded the 2024 James Wattie Scholarship by Ryman Healthcare and the Eastern Institute of Technology’s (EIT) School of Business.

The award was presented by Ryman Healthcare’s NZ CEO Cheyne Chalmers, above, at the first official function to be held in the newly-opened village centre at Ryman’s James Wattie Village in Havelock North.

Supporting Amy as she received the $15,000 scholarship were her family, EIT’s Executive Dean of the Faculty of Commerce and Technology and Head of the School of Business, John West, and Business Studies Programme Coordinator Russell Booth plus residents from the Te Aute Road village.


Great grandson of Sir James Wattie, Isaac Scott, was also there to share his encouragement to Amy, as was last year’s award recipient Ethan Wynne.

Cheyne spoke of Ryman’s co-founder Kevin Hickman and how his idea 40 years ago of providing care that was ‘good enough for Mum – and Dad’ had grown into 48 villages around New Zealand and Victoria, Australia with wonderful communities blossoming within them.

Similarly, a simple idea by Sir James Wattie to open a local cannery in Hastings to make the most of local produce that was being shipped out of the region for processing transformed into Wattie’s becoming the household name it is today.

“We’re proud to do our bit to help one special student get a bit further along their career journey with not only a little financial assistance but also hopefully a little inspiration too,” said Cheyne.

“We were impressed by Amy’s passion for people, community and sustainable living, and her ambitious goals and the way she set out a plan to achieve them.

“She has spent time volunteering in South East Asia on conservation projects and it was her proactive nature and determination to plan out how she will achieve her vision that really made her a very worthy winner.”

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From left: EIT's Russell Booth, last year's recipient Ethan Wynne, the 2024 scholarship recipient Amy Saunders, James Wattie Village Manager Sally Garvan, EIT's John West and Ryman Healthcare's General Manager Operations - NZ, Liz Dilger.

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The 2024 scholarship winner Amy Saunders with her proud family, from left her grandad Maurice, dad Matt, mum Karen and sister Renee.

John West from EIT thanked Ryman Healthcare for the crucial support it provided for its students.

“This scholarship allows us to reward the best of the best, to acknowledge their success and further help them in their career and future.”

Amy thanked Ryman Healthcare, EIT, her family and the Wattie family for getting her to this point: “This is incredibly overwhelming and has come at an amazing time for me, for my personal development and learning.

Amy is now planning to complete a marketing internship in Tokyo, Japan in November and says that wouldn’t have been possible without the generous scholarship.

“It would not have even been on my radar, but this scholarship has just opened so many doors for me and really inspired me to just keep going and work really hard for it."

Amy’s proud family, including her parents Karen and Matt, sister Renee and grandparents Maurice and Lynne, were thrilled to hear more about Amy’s achievement.

“I’m super proud, I’m a little bit emotional,” said Karen. “It’s so nice to hear all those lovely words from others.”

James Wattie residents Jenny Cook said Amy was a deserving recipient.

“I thought she was a very well rounded person and just so impressive with her enthusiasm for life and just getting on with it.

“And EIT seems to take such pride in their students, which is wonderful to see,” she added.
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Great grandson of Sir James Wattie, Isaac Scott, congratulates Amy Saunders on her achievement at the Ryman village named after his great grandfather.

About Ryman Healthcare:

Ryman was founded in 1984 and has become one of New Zealand’s largest listed companies. The company owns and operates 45 retirement villages in New Zealand and Australia which are home to more than 13,900 residents and the company employs 6,800 team members.

Media advisory: For further information, photos, interviews or comment please contact Group Corporate Affairs Manager Silke Marsh on +64 27 294 3609 or Communications Advisor Maryvonne Gray on 027 552 0767.

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