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University of Auckland Pacific students scoop major awards

Wednesday 10 August

University of Auckland Pacific students scoop major awards again

Current and former students from The University of Auckland have scooped all the major awards for the second year running after tonight’s announcement of the 2011 Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Awards.

Nadeen Papali’i, Mark Dewes, Brandon Jackson, Jessica Papali’i-Curtin and Joyce Toleafoa, all current students or alumni of the University, are recipients of the coveted awards recognising outstanding achievers from the New Zealand Pacific community. Each will be presented their award by Prime Minister John Key at Parliament Buildings, Wellington this evening.

They follow in the footsteps of fellow students and alumni Samuelu Si’ilata, Tammy Kingi-Fakaloa and J’aime Laurenson who won last year’s inaugural awards.

Nadeen Papali’i, a masters student in environmental engineering has been awarded The University of Auckland-sponsored Leadership Award. The 22-year-old from Otara says: “I’m really excited about this award. A lot of times, we let our circumstances hold us back, but I hope with this award I can inspire more Pacific youth to really get out there and live their dreams. I’m focused on working in the water industry, firstly in Samoa, then anywhere there is a need. So I’ve set it in my heart to do my doctorate to get trained and get equipped.”

The Leadership scholarship pays fees towards a programme of study at The University of Auckland.

Mark Dewes, who graduated last year with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Elam, won the Weta Workshop-sponsored Creativity Award, which provides a one-year paid internship at the Weta Workshop in Wellington. Mark says: “I’ve always wanted to work in the creative industry and even though I missed out on the award in 2010, I was not deterred by the setback. I knew I would have another opportunity this year so it just focused me even more.”

This year, three recipients have been jointly awarded the Cogita-sponsored Inspiration Award. Brandon Jackson and Joyce Toleafoa both studying in the Faculty of Education, the former undertaking a Bachelor in Human Services degree and the latter a Bachelor of Education (Primary Teaching). Jessica Papali'i-Curtin is studying for a Bachelors in Medicine and Surgery. Each will each receive $5000 towards overseas travel.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stuart McCutcheon says: “Last year we were very pleased that all three winners of the inaugural awards hailed from The University of Auckland and we have been proud of their achievements. This year, we are absolutely delighted that five more of our students and alumni are recipients of this prestigious award.The University of Auckland is committed to ensuring access and opportunities for Pacific communities. Many of our students are already making valuable contributions to their respective families and communities and it is heartening to see them publicly recognised in this way.”

With 3,000 Pacific student enrolments and world-class academics teaching and researching across many Pacific-related disciplines, Auckland is New Zealand’s leading Pacific university.


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