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Push for Pacific achievement in STEM  

Push for Pacific achievement in STEM  

  • 11 Mar 2019

The Minister for Pacific Peoples is pushing hard for greater Pasifika participation in STEM careers (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) with a further boost this year of a new crop of national Toloa awardees being announced. 

Minister for Pacific Peoples Hon Aupito William Sio says STEM fields are where Pacific people have been under-represented for a long time and communities are working hard to change all this with support from the Government. 

This year’s awards include 16 Community Fund Awards and eight Tertiary Scholarships selected from 103 applications nationally. 

“It’s been a tough call as the quality was very high," Minister Sio says. 

"The Toloa Tertiary Scholarship winners are some exceptional individuals studying at an advanced level in some pretty head cracking fields. 

"I’m proud we can support these talented young people - they are the next generation of Pacific innovators, creators and navigators." 

The Minister says he is delighted by the range and quality of the Toloa Community Fund Awards.

"These initiatives are imaginative and far-sighted and they show our communities are really getting behind STEM careers for our young people."  

The point of difference in the Ministry for Pacific Peoples' approach to generating greater Pacific participation in STEM fields is our whole of life approach, he adds.

"This includes the Toloa Kenese which engages with young students, their parents and families."

 The Toloa Awards comprise two categories:

  • Tertiary Scholarship Awards that support individuals studying at an advanced level in STEM subjects; and
  • Community Fund Awards that support STEM programmes in local communities. 

Building awareness and confidence among Pacific youth is vital and the Minister says he is excited by the number of community programmes that are focusing on just that.

"I think it’s one of our strengths - we have the ability to work together cooperatively for the good of our community and Aotearoa, and that plays a big part in lifting Pacific participation in STEM-related careers."  

The Toloa Awards ceremonies will be held in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

This year is the first time MPP has staged regional awards ceremonies.

It underlines both the success of the Toloa programme and the growing importance of Pacific communities playing a productive role in regional New Zealand, Minister Sio says. 

Toloa Community Fund Awards 

Northern Region

  • STEM Fono
  • Coconut Wireless
  • Coding club
  • Fale Pasifika
  • STEM project workshop
  • Faith City Trust Board
  • STEM workshop
  • GirlBoss New Zealand
  • STEM focused workshop
  • New Zealand Tongan Tertiary Students Association
  • STEM Talanoa – students and parents
  • South Pacific Professional Engineering Excellence
  • Engineering Expo
  • Tuvalu Auckland Community Trust
  • STEM Expo & Workshop
  • Vahefonua Tonga Methodist Mission Trust
  • Tongan Song and Animation technology development

Central Region

  • Amanaki STEM Academy
  • STEM workshops
  • Atafu Tokelau Porirua Community Group
  • Tokelau STEM Makespace Project – App/coding development
  • Niue Kaufakalataha Wellington Region Incorporated
  • STEM Workshops
  • Wellington Region Pasefika Services Incorporated
  • STEM Projects
  • Fusion 3 Limited
  • STEM Resource Kits 

Southern Region

  • Nelson Tasman Pasifika Community Trust
  • Aqua Bots Journey Across the Pacific workshops
  • Tino e Tasi Preschool
  • Digital Story Books

Toloa Tertiary Scholarships

Northern Region

  • Daniel Fruean (AUT) - Doctor of Philosophy in Computer & Information Service
  • Sunny Tavite (AUT) - Master of Analytics (Mathematics
  • Fuli Fuli (UOA) - Doctor of Philosophy in Computer & Information Science
  • Fiapaipai Auapaau (AUT) - Master of Science

Central Region 

  • Baby Carl Leiataua (VIC) - Master of Architecture
  • Anna Siohane-Royle (Massey) - Bachelor of Veterinary Science
  • Tala Tuala (Massey) - Master of Educational and Developmental Psychology

Southern Region

  • Charles Ching (UC) - Bachelor of Science

Toloa Awards Ceremonies

Auckland, March 11

Wellington, March 18

Christchurch, March 25