Alumni’s Academic Triumph Set to Reshape Housing Futures in Aotearoa-New Zealand

March 11, 2024

She was seventeen years old and in her final year of high school, juggling responsibilities few navigate successfully, even in adulthood. However, humble beginnings have never held Jacqueline Paul from achievement, nor have they seen her steadfast social consciousness wane.

“The financial support from Keystone has been life-changing for my family and I. With the Trust’s guidance, I developed my vocation and a sense of purpose.”

Determination leaps from the page of her 2012 Keystone Trust Study Award application, “I want to be the first in my family to be tertiary educated, to make a difference and motivate the younger generation of my family so they know a more financially secure future is possible.”

More than a decade later, she is an accomplished academic with credentials from two of the world’s leading universities to her name.

“The financial support from Keystone has been life-changing for my family and I. With the Trust’s guidance, I developed my vocation and a sense of purpose,” she says. 

Although Jacqueline applied for several tertiary scholarships as a school-leaver, the insightful teen saw value in the Trust’s support network and an immense community, which includes mentors, an industry-wide address book, and friends she holds dear today.

Following her graduation with a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from Unitec in 2018, the former lecturer was invited to continue her education as a full scholarship recipient at one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious institutions – the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.

There, she successfully completed a Master of Planning, Growth and Regeneration whilst working part-time and sending money home to her family. At the same time, enduring the darkest and most uncertain days of the global pandemic.

In 2022, the former Rosehill College student added another leading institution to her record of academic achievement, earning a full scholarship to undertake her Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston, United States. Her study in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning is focused on treaties, Indigenous land and housing rights.

We reach her here in freezing temperatures. “The winter climate is an adjustment, but the academic environment here is incredible, and there’s a great community and support system,” she says. Having just spent the summer at home in Aotearoa-New Zealand, she is refreshed and strikingly committed to bringing her global education home to facilitate better housing outcomes for Māori.

Jacqueline credits her understanding of her place and connection to Te Ao Māori to her parents and the influence of other wāhine toa-women who have guided her.

“Having Māori women as mentors throughout my life is pivotal. As my career has developed, my work is an expression of aroha-love and manaaki-support, and I am committed to developing policy mechanisms that improve outcomes for indigenous peoples across the world.”

As an elite scholar with a unique worldview informed by Māori values and principles, Jacqueline’s skills are globally in demand, and she acknowledges the challenges facing Aotearoa in attracting and retaining its talent. 

“International opportunities call, but our connection and responsibility to kāinga-homelands and community is everything,” she says. “My family and community have supported me to get to where I am today, and I am dedicated to working and utilising the skills I have attained in service of communities in need.”

In 2027, she will graduate from a five year tenure as an Indigenous Fellow and Doctoral Student at MIT, bringing world-class education, tenacity, and depth of cultural awareness home to Aotearoa to reshape Māori housing futures and progress works to a better, more just and equitable society.  


For further media enquiries, please contact:

Amanda Stanes                                                                               
Keystone Trust – General Manager                                        
M: 021 689 380

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