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University of Auckland celebrates Pacific youth accolades

Media Release
16 November 2012

University of Auckland celebrates Pacific youth accolades

The University of Auckland is celebrating the successes of three Pacific Island students following the announcement of the 2012 Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Awards this week.

Karina Kaufusi, Masuaga Pati Ah Sue, and Douglas Quensell, all current students or alumni of the University, comprised three of the five winners of these coveted awards which recognise outstanding achievers from the New Zealand Pacific community. Five high-achieving young Pacific winners were chosen from over 100 applications, with University of Auckland students scooping the majority of prizes for the third year running.

Karina Kaufusi, a conjoint Engineering (Civil)/Commerce student from Mt Wellington has been awarded The University of Auckland-sponsored Leadership Award. Acting as a good role model for Pacific youth is a key theme in the life of this 21 year old, who aspires to return to Tonga one day and use her engineering skills in projects to help the wider Tongan community.

“Through this award I hope to continue inspiring Pacific youth to truly believe in themselves and their dreams; to know that whatever they want to do, if they are passionate and determined they can succeed,” says Karina.

New Zealand born Samoan, Masuaga Pati Ah Sue completed his Bachelor of Visual Arts at the University of Auckland this year. He won the sought-after 2012 Weta Workshop-sponsored Creativity Award with his conceptual design of an alien race for use in film, and receives a one-year’s paid internship at Wellington’s Weta Workshop. Pati says: “I’ve always had the goal to work for Weta Workshop. Concept artists can work up to 80 hours a week so it is hard work and a big commitment, but to have the chance to live my dream, it is all worth it.”

Douglas Quensell won the Mobiles4Good Award sponsored by Vodafone, which required demonstration of mobile technology to support a community initiative. Douglas designed a software tool that simulates an environment’s magnetic fields enabling effective planning of mobile cellular networks. He hopes to support mobile technology in the mountainous Tongan island of Vava’u and other Pacific islands. Douglas has just completed his Bachelor of Engineering Hons (Electrical).

Director of the University’s Centre for Pacific Studies, Walter Fraser says: “Last year we were extremely pleased that five winners from the awards hailed from The University of Auckland, and have been very proud of their achievements. This year we are absolutely delighted that three more of our students and alumni are recipients of this prestigious award.”

The Prime Minister's Pacific Youth Awards were presented by Prime Minister John Key at a ceremony held at the Beehive Banquet Hall in Wellington on Wednesday 14th November.


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