New advocate for Pacific Is students at Waikato
10 October 2006
New advocate for Pacific Island students at Waikato
Pacific Island students at the University of Waikato have a new advocate on campus. Fred Rohorua has been appointed to the newly established position of Pacific Student Liaison Coordinator.
An experienced teacher and university lecturer, Rohorua is to oversee the academic success of the roughly 400 Pacific Island students at the University. His office is the first to be a centralized place of support for Pacific Islanders.
“For me, the important thing is the physical presence of this office for Pacific Island students,” he said. “It’s up to me now to bring awareness to students that I am here.”
Originally from the Samoan Islands, Rohorua lived with his family in Fiji before moving to Hamilton in 2001. The father of five teenagers, Rohorua has spent the past four years working on his doctoral dissertation in development studies in the School of Maori & Pacific Development. His wife, Hala, is a senior teacher in Waikato University’s Foundation Studies Centre.
Rohorua’s position is funded by the Tertiary Education Commission to promote and improve the success of Pacific Islanders at the tertiary level, he said. And not just Pacific Island students coming here to study, but specifically young Pacific Islanders who have grown up in New Zealand.
“The objective of the funding is to help Pacific Island students enrol in and complete their degree programs,” Rohorua said.
Pacific Island student mentors exist in each academic school at Waikato, Rohorua said. His job is to centralize and coordinate those mentoring services. He wants to be someone Pacific Island students turn to with questions, problems or concerns.
“I see my role as a coordinator,” he said. “If a student needs academic, financial or counselling help, I’ll know where to refer them.”