Dorothy L Newman Scholarship Past Recipients

2024 Recipients



Hi, I’m Ashley and I’m 23 years old. I have a massive passion for kids and helping and encouraging them to reach their fullest potential, I have been dancing from the age of 3 years and started teaching my own dance classes at age of 14. I love watching kids’ eyes sparkle with pride when they achieve goals makes my heart full and warm.

Before diagnosis, I worked in the Greek Islands working and performing in 5-star hotels. During the day we would run activities such as water polo, darts, table tennis, aqua gym, archery, zumba, quiz and bingo nights, beach volleyball and many other activities. In the evening, we would put on shows dancing, singing and comedy shows.

I came home to New Zealand in 2020 during the pandemic. It was then I fell ill and was rushed to hospital. After spending 3 days scared for my life in ICU unable to feel my legs, I was then diagnosed with MS. Knowing I wouldn’t be able to return to my dream job in Greece caused me a great deal of sadness.

After quite literally finding my feet again, I am now able to manage my symptoms enough to be teaching while sharing my love of dance with those at Levin The Movement Dance Studio.  I started volunteering at my old primary school and found I could help nurture young minds in other ways. It is here I knew I wanted to become a teacher and my journey to study began. I chose Massey as it is close to home.

I cannot wait to have my own classroom to create a space where children feel safe and welcomed to unconditionally be themselves. I want to encourage and support as many children I can to reach their fullest potential.

I will not let MS stand in the way of my dreams to have my own classroom.


2022 Recipients



“Being a creative person I studied Sociology and Art and worked within the fashion industry for 30 years travelling to various countries and always creating to where I find myself today Lecturing Level 5 Diploma in fashion technology. 

I love working in the fashion industry, designing, dressmaking coordinating and teaching but “having journeyed with MS for 11 years” and “a year long struggle with Uvietis, inflammation, neuropathic nerve pain” and a steroid injection has resulted in cataracts developing in both her eyes. These health issues necessitated a reduction in Sarah’s work hours to prioritise her well-being and be there for her four children, providing for them to the best of her abilities.

This has ignited a strong desire within her to pursue retraining in psychology, a field that has fascinated her since her teenage years. Her passion for mental health, awareness, and psychology has continued to grow over time, she states that “art therapy, psychology and counselling support that awareness to be kind to ourselves and show us a way through these times, to see the courage it can take to ask for help or to learn something new. I feel it’s time for me to learn and gain qualifications in psychology and counselling with the wish to add further study in Art therapy.”

Congratulations to Sarah on winning the 2022 Dorothy Newman Scholarship! We extend our best wishes to her as she embarks on this journey to receive a New Zealand Diploma in Psychology. We are eager to hear about the positive impact this opportunity will have on both her and her family. 



“Currently I am already studying full time and working on a casual basis as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) for St. John and running my own business. I have a real passion for helping people in the community with health-related issues, which has led me to this career choice and studying to become a Registered Nurse.” 

“Unfortunately, as my MS is progressing, I am starting to find these 12-hour shifts, especially night shifts more and more difficult to maintain due to fatigue. I chose to complete my nursing degree, so when I am no longer able to do 12-hour shifts, I will still be able to provide meaningful help and support to others.”

At MSNZ, our mission is to be a supportive force for those with MS, fostering their ability to remain in paid employment for as long as possible. We firmly believe that sustained work not only provides financial security but also enhances overall quality of life, well-being, and self-reliance. By nurturing a sense of purpose and strength, we enable individuals to maintain their independence despite the challenges they face.

So it was heartening to hear that Hayley has already devised a plan: (on completing her) “training and then transitioning into some form of community health role as a Registered Nurse (RN), ideally at a GP practice or as a community nurse. Additionally, completing this qualification will also allow me to move into a Healthline phone role if I become unable to work in a practice. This qualification will give me a lot of flexibility to be able to continue to work, regardless of the level of disability I end up with due to MS. Nurses continue to be in high demand throughout New Zealand so I believe there will be no possibility of not obtaining employment in this field for years to come.”

Congratulations to Hayley for winning the 2022 Dorothy Newman Scholarship! We send our warmest wishes as she sets forth on this exciting journey to finish a Bachelor of Nursing. We are eagerly looking forward to learning about the positive impact this opportunity will have on her fatigue and future endeavours.


2016 Recipients



“I applied for a Scholarship because my job as a nurse was becoming increasingly physically demanding and stressful. My passion for elder care was not diminished so I sought another area of healthcare that would still allow me to work in the industry I am passionate about.

Healthcare auditing was something that had always interested me so I began to research the possibility of retraining as an auditor. That same day I received an MS magazine in the mail that featured an article about the Dorothy L Newman Scholarship. I filled in the application with increasing excitement and was thrilled to be accepted for both the course and Scholarship.

In February I underwent an intense week of training in Healthcare Auditing, with homework every night and a presentation to give to the group. On the last day we sat an exam requiring 100% to pass. Fortunately we were allowed to repeat any questions we missed the first time.

Finally I had my certificate of achievement and began applying for jobs with auditing agencies. I was accepted by an agency, have completed my observation audits, and am waiting to complete two training audits where I will be given increasing responsibilities. Then I will undergo an appraisal to ensure I am competent before signing a contract with the agency and being nominated for registration with the Ministry of Health.

I am so grateful to have been a recipient of the Dorothy Newman Scholarship and to have had this opportunity to retrain into a job that is more manageable and allows me to continue to fulfil my passion.”



“For most of my career I was a musician and sound engineer however, after 20 years with MS, I was experiencing decreasing dexterity and numbness in my hands, hindering my abilities to work. My symptoms mean that I now find it increasingly difficult to play instruments, control mixing desks and audio equipment. The late hours, a common condition in the industry, were also taking their toll in terms of fatigue.

When I applied I was completing my second year of Music and History at Canterbury University and achieving excellent marks but needed financial help to complete my third year. As you can imagine studying coupled with a chronic condition has had an impact. I have found my memory and cognition has been an issue with the progression of my MS. Allowing time for rest to recuperate is important for memory retention and combating fatigue.

I am interested in venturing into research of audio engineering and electro acoustic composition or a career in teaching music or history if I continue to get good grades. I am applying for a research position over summer with the Human Interface Technology Lab in Canterbury looking at the effects of realistic soundscapes upon virtual reality users. This research ties in well with my interests in composition and audio engineering and should hopefully lead to employment that is less taxing upon my health.

I would like to thank Multiple Sclerosis New Zealand for awarding me a Dorothy L Newman Scholarship and for the opportunities this has provided me.”



“In 2014 I was awarded a Scholarship to complete the New Zealand Institute of Management Certificate aiming to improve my chances of getting a job and eventually give me the tools to start up my own business. I had experience as a manager in the entertainment business but no formal qualification. This coupled with the difficulties I experience with walking and balance, symptoms of my MS, meant I needed to upskill. This course would help open up more employment opportunities for me as an office-based employee.

My studies went extremely well, receiving A’s and A+’s in all my modules. As an online study programme I was able to work from home and not have to travel into town.

Being proactive and getting back to studying and working to achieve a goal has had an INCREDIBLE effect on me and my job prospects! I have recently been given a position with The Royal New Zealand Ballet based in Wellington. Because of doing this study course, I now have marketing and HR knowledge and I was able to discuss these topics with confidence at my interview and landed the role! I couldn’t be happier.

I have only encountered one problem during the time, being that is that the study took longer than I originally anticipated, but this was due to other obligations rather than my MS. I am inspired to study further after I get more qualifications to progress in my career.

I recommend anyone with MS looking to change their career to better suit their lifestyle to apply for the Scholarship which has been life-changing for me. I hope I am proof that people with MS are valued members of society, that we can contribute and have the same goals as everyone else.”


2015 Recipients



In 2015, I was fortunate to be awarded $2000 from MSNZ, through the Dorothy L Newman Scholarship. It was a
long-held (20 year) dream to be able to study naturopathy and I felt I was in a good position with my health.

I am currently in my first year of three, studying naturopathy at the Naturopathic College of New Zealand. I have really stepped outside my boundaries this year, as I have needed to remain focused on my studies and to attend the New Plymouth workshop. It was a big hurdle physically and mentally to have been without my family supports, performing and being assessed on therapeutic massage, and attending the tutorials for the week. I enjoyed most of it, but afterwards spent a couple of weeks recovering.

I have learnt a lot about natural therapies this year and realise there are definitely some areas which I feel more drawn to than others. It has cemented my idea that diet and other complementary therapies are excellent to assist healing from not only MS, but also many other health issues.

I have passed all of my work so far this year but sometimes it has been hard dealing with extra stress in my day-to-day life, having days when I feel particularly fatigued.

After I have qualified, I intend to be self-employed and appropriately I feel compelled to work with people who have an autoimmune disease. I have been surprised at the lack of understanding from many people, including those within the health industry, who have no idea how this diagnosis can affect people.

Thank you very much for the Scholarship. I really appreciate that you agree I am worthy of receiving this.



I applied for the Scholarship so I could have the opportunity to finish my Diploma without adding to my student loan. I had never heard about the Scholarship before my Field Officer, Gay Dickie, talked to me about it and helped me submit my application. I am on the last paper for the Information and Library Studies Level 5 Diploma with The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand and will finish mid-October.

I am looking at moving to Hamilton in the next six months and hope to get a job in a library, but I am finding it hard as most library jobs already want you to have the Diploma that I am currently studying. I had to pull out of two papers last year due to problems with my health, but the Scholarship is giving me the push I need to finish my Diploma. I am hoping to continue on with my studies next year, as this Diploma crosses over into the Bachelor’s Degree of Information and Library Studies.



I was diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS in 2008. I was 23 at the time, studying law and music at university.

After graduating, I worked as a lawyer in Wellington for four years, until it became clear that my health was significantly impacting my ability to work in this profession. When I was first diagnosed I sought counselling for assistance in coming to come to terms with my diagnosis, and since then it was always in the back of my mind to help others in a similar way. Prioritising my health, I left my job as a lawyer in December 2014, and commenced studying a Diploma of Professional Counselling in January 2015.

As the first year of counsellor study was in fact my seventh year of requiring a student loan, I applied for the Dorothy L. Newman Scholarship for help in paying my 2016 course fees, 2016 being the final year of this Diploma.

After completing all theory and practical components of this course with an average mark of 92%, I have now achieved my Diploma, and I am working as a counsellor at a women’s centre. Once I gain more experience, I ultimately want to specialise in working with people struggling with health and grief, and support people in the same way I was assisted all those years ago.

I am immensely grateful for the MS Society and the Dorothy L Newman Scholarship’s assistance with my course fees this year; it has been a great help, thank you!