TOLOA SCHOLARS: Four Pasifika students awarded $100k in scholarships
Science majors of Tokelau, Samoan and Tonga descent were awarded scholarships from the Ministry of Pacific Peoples at the University of Auckland’s Fale Pasifika yesterday.
Tokelau’s Zoe So’otaga and Melissa Kupa, Samoa’s Fuli Junior Fuli and Tonga’s Sela Finau are the Toloa scholars.
The achievement by the two Tokelau students based in Wellington has been well received by the Tokelauan community, with special acknowledgement of their core subjects relevancy to the challenges the small atoll nation faces in terms of vulnerability, climate change and cultural sustainability.
“Like other Pacific Nations, Tokelau value their young people. They are the carriers of the Tokelau genealogy and history to the coming generations to ensure its continuity,” an elder told Pacific Guardians.
“As a minority within a minority, Tokelau is humbled with the blessings granted to Melissa Kupa and Zoe So’otaga, our two young females in Wellington, New Zealand to take up this new challenge in Building Science, a field that is predominately take up by males.
“This is a great and timely opportunity, as the regional community are faced with the challenges of climate change. Tokelau is looking at climate proofing its whole infrastructural developments, and with God’s blessings, Tokelau will benefit from these specialties should these young leaders wishes to return to Tokelau. Ia Tokelau ke ola!”
Pacific Peoples Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga at the ceremony said, “The aim of the Toloa Scholarships is to encourage Pacific students into studying science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects at tertiary level and so increase the number of Pacific people working in these areas,” Mr Lotu-Iiga says.
“The calibre of applicants was high, and I was encouraged by the interest in these new scholarships. New Zealand’s Pacific population is one of the youngest and fastest-growing in the country. It is important that these young and bright people are given every opportunity to become the industry leaders and problem-solvers of the future.”
The four Toloa Scholarships, worth $25,000 over three years each, are open to first year undergraduate and postgraduate Pacific students studying STEM-related papers. The recipients also receive mentoring and an industry internship.
TOLOA SCHOLARSHIP INFORMATION
The Toloa (Tongan for the Southern Cross Constellation) guided ancient mariners and their vaka across the Pacific Ocean over thousands of years.
STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics – are the four growth industries that help solve the world’s problems.
The Minister for Pacific Peoples Hon Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga is pleased to offer the Toloa Scholarships for Pacific STEM scholars in 2016.
Funded by the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs, the Toloa Scholarships are worth a total of $25,000 each. They offer financial support, mentoring and an industry internship to the successful recipients.
The Toloa Scholarships give Pacific STEM students the support they need through their tertiary education – to become world leading problem solvers of the future.