This is Deputy Secretary, Pacific and Development Group, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) Jonathan Kings’ message to the 22 NZ Scholarship students taking part in the AUT MFAT NZ Scholarships Programme Completion Celebration.
Years of hard work, dedication and sacrifice have been celebrated at Tuesday’s gathering at AUT, hosted by the University Scholarships Office – an event which also recognises scholars’ achievements while on award.
The scholars completing their studies at AUT (between November 2017 and May 2018) are recipients of a MFAT NZ Pacific Scholarship, a NZ Development Scholarship, a NZ ASEAN or a Commonwealth Scholarship, and they stem from around the globe.
As NZ Scholarship recipients, they are expected to share the skills and knowledge gained at AUT to assist in the social and economic development of their home country.
After presenting the scholars with pounamu, Mr Kings has reminded the leaving students they now have the tools to use in their home country to help create sustainable economies and flourishing communities.
“You are representative of the best your country has to offer …. many of you have overcome significant challenges to be here but what you do now does matter,” he says.
“You are part of the New Zealand international community now and part of a global network of leaders.”
Pro Vice Chancellor and Dean, Faculty of Business, Economics and Law Professor Kate Kearins also spoke at the event, saying she hopes scholars return home more profound thinkers, richer from their years at AUT.
Among the group of scholars completing their studies this year, is past Pacific Cooperation Foundation (PCF) Summer Intern Jeremiah Tauiliili (pictured below), who will return to Samoa next month with a Bachelor of Engineering Technology in Mechanical Engineering.
“I am really looking forward to going back home – I have been applying for jobs back there - it has been an incredible journey,” he says.
Following Jeremiah’s 10-week Summer Internship at Watercare, he also took part in a TupuToa internship.
With a degree and practical experience under his belt, he is more than ready to head back to Samoa and try to create positive change with his skillset.
The PCF Summer Internship for 2017-2018 gets underway on Monday (November 20), and two of this summer’s cohort attended the function.
Papua New Guinea’s Margaret Mase, who is in her second year of her Bachelor of Health Science (Health Promotion), will complete her 10 weeks with Auckland and Waitemata District Health Board, while Theo Zobule will spend his time at CAF NZ.
The Solomon Islander is in his second year of a Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) Electrical.
Both scholars are excited, yet nervous about the Summer Internship, but have been inspired after seeing their fellow scholars’ time in NZ draw to a close with such great success stories.