Pursuing a career as an aviator in New Zealand is becoming increasingly out of reach for many Kiwi students due to financial barriers. Although COVID19 has had a devastating effect on the aviation industry globally, it is a resilient industry that will recover. Massey University is training the next generation of pilots and aviation professionals who will play a key role in the recovery and growth of New Zealand’s aviation sector.
Massey University’s Bachelor of Aviation degree is the only degree in New Zealand not fully covered under the Government’s Student Loan Scheme, resulting in many talented students facing financial hardship on their aviation journey. With the average student loan sitting at $140,000, and virtually no aviation-specific scholarships available to Massey students, there is a desperate need for philanthropic scholarship support.

Tuition Fee Funding Shortfall

Today’s cohort of Massey aviation students face tuition fees of $67,000pa in their second year of study, yet can only borrow $52,500pa through the Student Loan Scheme due to funding loan caps. In year three, students in the flight instructor course may only borrow up to $35,000pa to cover Massey course fees of $50,000pa.

Pressure on Families

Unable to borrow the money through their student loan, aviation students are forced to rely on parents, family savings and bank loans to cover a financial shortfall of up to $30,000. Some students choose to defer their studies for a year or more so they can work to cover the shortfall.

Growing Funding Gap

As the gap between available student loan and university tuition fees grows each year, increasing numbers of aspiring aviators find themselves unable to enrol in the programme as they have no way of meeting this financial shortfall.
New Zealand’s next generation of aviators desperately needs your support.

The Massey University Foundation is appealing for student scholarships to make aviation more equitable and ensure the dream of becoming a pilot is achievable for all.

Scholarships have the power to change lives. The financial support provided by scholarships can make a huge difference in the lives of students and their families. Yet, the affirmation of receiving a scholarship and the encouragement this brings can be even more powerful.

Please consider making a gift to the Aviation Bursary Fund or establishing a scholarship in your name or the name of a loved one. To discuss donating contact Kelly Weaver on 021746831 or




Jonathan Blood is in the final year of his degree at Massey University’s School of Aviation pursuing his dream of becoming a pilot. The 21-year-old was at Kingsway High School in Orewa when his passion for flying was cemented during a “life-changing” school trip to Tanzania.
“We had to catch three flights to get there and I saw first-hand where a career in aviation could take me. That trip ignited my passion for different cultures and I knew I wanted a job that would enable me to travel the world.”
Due to the student loan cap in the Bachelor of Aviation, Jonathan’s parents re-mortgaged the family home in Auckland to pay his second-year course fees. As the youngest of four children, Jonathan was grateful they were able to help and his part-time work as a baggage handler for Origin Air helped to cover his living expenses in Palmerston North.

However, Jonathan soon faced a second financial shortfall after being selected for the esteemed Flight Instructor Course in year three. With his father recently retired due to illness, Jonathan knew he couldn’t put that pressure on his parents again.
“I couldn’t risk my parents losing their home, so I considered either taking out a personal loan to get through or dropping out for a year to work full-time.”
Before doing so, Jonathan took the initiative to approach various places for assistance, including the Massey University Foundation who he knew had been raising funds for aviation scholarships. A fundraising appeal to Massey alumni late last year had generated considerable support for aviation students so a decision was made to use some of the donated funds to support Jonathan based on the merits of his case.
Speaking about the alumni-funded bursary he received Jonathan says, “I truly can’t convey how much this bursary means to me and what it is doing to relieve a heavy financial burden. I’m so grateful to all the alumni who cared enough to donate”.
In addition to his full-time study and part-time work, Jonathan has been instrumental in lobbying the government to increase support for Massey University aviation students. A student petition was presented to the Educational Workforce Committee in Wellington earlier this year calling for a review of the annual student loan cap for Massey’s aviation students. Jonathan and his peers want to eliminate the growing financial shortfall that current and future aviation students face to help make the course more equitable. This long-standing anomaly in the New Zealand system means only aviation students’ families face the prospect of needing to re-mortgage their homes to fund their child’s university degree.
“Every young person should be able to chase their dreams in the aviation industry, whether they come from a wealthy family or not. At the moment, students find out about the funding shortfall and give up on their dream because they know they can’t fund it, and I think that’s really sad.”
Unfortunately, since COVID19 the Educational Workforce Committee has decided not to review the student loan cap at this time.
The inaugural hardship bursary given to Jonathan is a special example of how Massey aviation alumni have assisted in a worthy cause for the Massey University School of Aviation. Thank you to everyone who donated or is thinking about donating in future.