Tyron, a 2017 Variety Gold Heart Scholar

Day 7: I trained for two hours!

Thanks to someone like you, I can take on the world. Read more

Henare aims to compete with the best

At 5:30 every weekday morning you'll find Henare starting a two-hour training session at his local swimming pool. In fact, this motivated 16-year-old spends at least 18 hours a week in the water.

In 2017, thanks to CMC Markets, Variety was thrilled to award Variety Gold Heart Scholarships to Henare and seven other talented Kiwi kids.

The scholarships of up to $5,000 go to disadvantaged children who excel in the arts, sport or education, to develop their talent. It was Henare's third scholarship in succession, with each year's award taking him closer to his dream of competing at the Olympic or Commonwealth games. 


He entered his first race at eight and he's had many successes since. Henare's specialty is backstroke. His three Gold Heart Scholarships are proof of his dedication and his extraordinary ability from a young age. They've helped cover the costs his family could never have afforded on their own: pool and coaching fees, travel to competitions and equipment, including racing togs (they can cost up to $600 and often need to be replaced every racing season), swim caps, goggles, kickboards, pull buoys and fins.

Pursuing his goal has meant sacrifices. In 2015 he had to leave his home in Kaitaia, and the only school he had attended, to live with his uncles in Auckland. That was the only way he could be close to top swimming coaches and facilities. In Auckland he does all his own washing and cleaning, and gets himself to training six days a week.

He also has another ambition - to be an electrician. That's why, when traditional schooling wasn't quite working around his intensive training regime, he enrolled in correspondence papers to keep up his education.

Meet all eight 2017 Variety Gold Heart Scholars

Become a Variety Guardian

Join this small but impactful group of committed supporters to play a pivotal role in addressing the needs of New Zealand’s disadvantaged children.

As a Variety Guardian, you’ll be able to direct your donations to a specific area of support, such as scholarships – just like the one that Henare received.

By becoming a Variety Guardian, you will enable us to keep our work going and take our successful programmes further, supporting more kids in need who require our assistance. You’ll receive quarterly updates on the work you’re funding from a dedicated relationship manager.

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Gold Heart Scholar Ella McIntosh

Variety’s CEO Lorraine Taylor and one of our 2017 Gold Heart Scholarship recipients, Ella McIntosh, show how Variety gives Kiwi kids the opportunities to reach their full potential.

Posted by The Cafe

Ella McIntosh and Variety's CEO, Lorraine Taylor, talk about Ella's Gold Heart Scholarship on The Cafe