#academic: Old Boy receives prestigious Girdlers’ Scholarship

01 July 2019

Wellesley Old Boy Matthew Sutcliffe, class of 2013, has been awarded the prestigious 2019 Girdlers’ Scholarship, which will enable him to study Human, Social and Political Sciences at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, starting in October 2019.

Matthew attended Wellesley for Years 7 and 8 (2012-2013) and received the Swaby Cup for Dux in 2013.  Five years later, he was awarded Dux at Wellington College for 2018.

Matthew pictured here at Wellesley’s Senior Prizegiving Dec 2018 – with Daniel Andrews, Wellesley Dux 2018

At both schools, he achieved excellence across a wide spectrum of subjects, and was actively involved in a wide range of extra-curricular and sporting activities.  Whilst at Wellesley, Matthew received the Football 1st XI MVP, and the Athletics Cups for 800 and 1500 metres.  At Wellington College, he was the winner of the national secondary schools’ United Nations NZ Speech Competition and 1st place in the Wellington Regional Cross -Country Championship.

Matthew would like to work at the interface of political affairs and social debates, in journalism or policy analysis. “New Zealand will have to confront major issues around migration, refugee movements, climate change, nationalism and religious intolerance,” he says. “Although every country faces these problems in one way or another, we are a small independent maritime country with a unique character and an obligation to respect the Treaty of Waitangi. I look forward to the challenge of working in this milieu.”

This is the 55th Girdlers Scholarship awarded to a New Zealand student. Administered by Universities New Zealand, it is valued at approximately £35,000 (NZ$67,000) per year, paying for Matthew’s university and college fees and contributing to his living costs while studying.

In announcing the decision, it was stated “The Company is delighted to award Matthew this scholarship, as he embodies the qualities we seek.  He has the academic ability to perform well at Corpus Christi College, and the ambition to take full advantage of this extraordinary opportunity. We will watch his progress with interest and support him during his time at Cambridge.”

Congratulations Matthew.  You are an outstanding all-rounder and we are super proud of your achievements.  As you prepare for the move to Cambridge, England, the immensely proud staff and boys at Wellesley wish you every success and happiness in your journey ahead.

Background on the Company of Girdlers

The scholarship is funded by The Worshipful Company of Girdlers which traces its foundation back to medieval times as a craftsmen’s guild. It is now largely concerned with charitable works and the fellowship of its members.

It awards one scholarship per year to an outstanding New Zealand school student to undertake a degree at Cambridge University. The Scholarship is open to Year 13 secondary school students who have attended secondary school in New Zealand and are New Zealand citizens or have permanent resident status.  More information about this and other scholarships administered by Universities New Zealand is available at


Matthew Sutcliffe pictured here with fellow class of 2013 student Thomas Watkins (see separate article on Thomas), on their Year 7 sailing course in 2012