January 13, 2016
Kingi gets Motu Award to finish scholarship.
A Maori economist studying for a doctorate at the prestigious Cornell University in the United States has won this year’s $10,000 Motu Thesis Scholarship.
Hautahi Kingi from Nga Rauru and Te Atihaunui a Paparangi is looking at connections between immigration, tax and consumption.
Adam Jaffe, the director of the not-for-profit Motu Economic and Public Policy Research Trust, says his work is relevant to policymakers in both the US and New Zealand.
Mr Kingi, who has been at Cornell for five years, says the first part of his dissertation investigates how migrants affect the well-being of native born workers.
Restrictions on labour mobility are arguably the largest policy distortion in the international economy.
“While goods and capital are now almost completely free to roam, humans are not. Millions would greatly benefit from migration, but labour movements are restricted because of concerns about the potential negative consequences for native born workers. A deeper understanding of these consequences are crucial for developing future migration policy,” he says.
“The second part of my PhD work looks at the ways in which the US federal tax system acts as an automatic stabiliser to the economy, and examines how various tax policies and provisions distort this.”
Mr Kingi grew up speaking te reo. He won a gold medal in the 400m at the 2007 NZ Under-20 athletics championships, and was on Wellington’s Maori representative rugby team. He still plays rugby for Cornell.
He has a BCA in economics and finance with first class honours and a BSc in mathematics and statistics from Victoria University, and also worked as a consultant and analyst with PricewaterhouseCoopers
“Like indigenous people everywhere, Maori suffer from poorer economic, health and social outcomes than New Zealand non-Maori,” Mr Kingi says.
“Growing up around this inequality opened my eyes to how people's lives are often dictated by economic circumstances beyond their control. My understanding of the importance of economics followed naturally from this experience.”
Before heading to Cornell, Mr Kingi completed a BCA in economics and finance with first class honours and a BSc in mathematics and statistics at Victoria University, where he was a mentor at and won the Bernard Edward Murphy Memorial Scholarship for Economics in 2010. During his university career in Wellington he also worked as a consultant and analyst with PriceWaterhouseCoopers.
“While at Victoria, I worked alongside other Te Rōpū Āwhina mentors to improve the lack of practical channels through which young Māori could use their skills to contribute to their iwi. Motu, with this scholarship is attempting to build meaningful, long-term links between researchers and iwi. I’m keen to be a part of this.”
Mr Kingi is looking at research and industry opportunities within the US.
His other awards include the Bernard Edward Murphy Memorial Scholarship for Economics in 2010, Louis Walinsky Fund in Economics Outstanding Teaching Award (2014); William Georgetti Scholarship (2012 – 2015); Victoria University Graduate Award (2010); Jan Whitwell Prize in Macro and Monetary Economics (2009); Financial Services Institute of Australasia Prize in Corporate Finance (2009); Sir Apirana Ngata Memorial Scholarship (2009); Alumni Association Faculty Award (2007); Victoria University School-Leaver Scholarship for Academic Excellence (2006); PricewaterhouseCoopers Scholarship (2005); and the Maori Education Trust Undergraduate Higher Learning Scholarship (2005).
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