An increasing number of Pacific people are embracing Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) opportunities, paving a pathway to educational success.
Now in its sixth year, the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP) Toloa Programme is achieving its goal of helping Pacific Aotearoa to thrive.
Minister for Pacific Peoples Hon Aupito William Sio says the aim is to see Pacific communities in Aotearoa prosper.
“Encouraging more people into STEM-related study and jobs is a way to do this,” Minister Sio says.
“We want Pacific peoples fulfilling their potential in the belief everyone in Aotearoa has the opportunity to succeed and be able to provide for their families.”
The STEM fields are the way of the future, and future employment sectors will require STEM skills.
In 2015, MPP established the Toloa Programme, which takes a multi-faceted approach of raising awareness and providing workforce development opportunities.
Every year, scholarships and funding are provided to individuals and groups at the Toloa Awards, which are being held in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch throughout March and April.
This year, MPP has awarded 59 Toloa Tertiary Scholarships to Pacific students to pursue studies in STEM and become the future innovators and leaders in this space.
“It is our highest number of scholarships given out for the programme since it began,” Minister Sio explains.
“It not only encourages more students to take up STEM subjects, but it lifts the burden of having to find funds for tertiary fees, meaning students can focus entirely on their studies.”
In July last year, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and MPP signed a Memorandum of Understanding, agreeing to work together, to increase the number of Pacific people in the STEM workforce.
A total of $550,000 has been allocated to MPP from MBIE’s Research, Science, and Innovation: Talent and Science Promotion appropriation to support initiatives for Pacific people to transition into STEM employment .
Minister Sio says this support has been gratefully received and by working together with MBIE, we are moving closer to seeing more and more Pacific faces in jobs such as Engineering and Computer Programming.
“It is a fascinating time for the growing population of Pacific peoples in New Zealand, as we welcome the future and opportunities in STEM,” he adds.
Northern-based recipients of the Toloa Tertiary Scholarships, Community Fund and Kenese Fund were congratulated at an event on March 30.
The Central and Southern Awards will be staged on April 12 in Wellington and 19 in Christchurch respectively.
Toloa Community Fund
Brown Pride NZ
Congregation Christian Church of Samoa Otahuhu Trust Board
Digital Discipline (SL1 Consulting Limited)
Congregational Christian Church of Samoan Hamilton Trust Board, Hamilton Youth Group
EFKS Mt Roskill Youth Samoan Pacific Group
EFKS Ranui Trust Church Trust Board
Faith City Trust Board
Taulanga Malie Reformed Christian Church of Tuvalu Trust in Tauranga
Aoga Fa'ata'ita'i Samoa PIC Mangere (Tausa'afia Trust)
The Lalaga Foundation
To'utupu Tonga Trust
Vahefonua Tonga Methodist Mission Charitable Trust (SIAOLA)
Vaitupu Community Trust
West Auckland Kiribati Association Incorporated
Toloa Kenese Fund
A & K Thomson Limited
Ferguson Intermediate School
GirlBoss New Zealand
Pam Fergusson Charitable Trust
Satauro PIPC Wiri Sunday School
Techtorium- St Paul's College
Tuvalu Auckland Community Trust
Vai ‘Oe Mo’ui Tongan Church Community (The Methodist Church of New Zealand Te Haahi Weteriana O Aotearoa Auckland - Manukau Tongan Parish - Parish (7510)
Toloa Tertiary Scholarships
Massey University (Manawatu)
University of Auckland
Alfred (Afereti) Pama
Mabel Fa'aloua Leilani Tata
University of Waikato
Auckland University of Technology
Visit MPP’s website for more information on the Toloa Programme.