Twenty-one scholars have been accepted into New Zealand universities and six scholars will study at the University of the South Pacific or the Fiji National University.
Acting New Zealand High Commissioner, Nick Hurley, hosted a reception this week to celebrate the students’ achievement and to welcome home returning alumni.
Hurley congratulated the scholarship winners and encouraged them to “seize this opportunity. Be bold. Be brave. Challenge yourself. Remember always that you are ambassadors for your family, for your village, for Tonga.”
The 2018 King Tupou VI Coronation Scholarship recipient was also announced as Maletino Taumu’alelei ‘I Loyala Mafi, of Houmakelikao, Ma’ufanga.
Mafi is the second recipient of this prestigious scholarship.
The Guest Speaker, Penisimani Fifita, Minister of Education congratulated the scholars on their achievements and encouraged them to aim for excellence in their studies, not simply a pass grade. He reminded them that the funding they received was a privilege and urged the students to study hard to respect the honour of their selection.
King Tupou VI Coronation Scholarship recipient, Maletino Mafi, gave an inspirational speech, reminding the other scholars going to study in New Zealand and Fiji that hard work and determination are needed to successfully meet their goals.
That theme was underlined in the remarks by one of the returning alumni, Annelise Halafihi, who offered advice on perseverance in the face of challenges in an unfamiliar environment, drawing on her own personal experience.
The 26 New Zealand scholarship recipients will be studying qualifications from bachelor levels through to master degrees and PhDs across a broad range of subjects from health sciences, information technology, accounting, business, energy, medicine, environmental management, engineering, aviation, commerce, economics and maritime law.
Scholarships are awarded with the intention that the knowledge and skills of an individual will enrich Tonga and their communities following their completion of study and return to Tonga. The New Zealand Government invests over NZ$3 million in tertiary scholarships annually for Tongan citizens to study in New Zealand or in the Pacific Region.
The New Zealand Pacific Scholarships and New Zealand Regional Development Scholarships are funded through the New Zealand Aid programme.