At the end of 2021, I was awarded the Toloa STEAM Scholarship from The Ministry for Pacific Peoples.
This was a wonderful opportunity to connect with other Pacifica students and also support me in my studies for 2022.
I was also asked to be involved in the well-being Programme throughout the year where myself and a group of other scholarship winners would get together to discuss how to best support other Pacifica students in the future.
During term two between the dates of 12 -15 of May, I travelled to Christchurch for a Toloa STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math's) challenge with the other scholarship recipients from the South Island. This is an innovation challenge which requires you to apply your STEAM knowledge and build a prototype solution to a real-life issue.
The event is run by Young Enterprise (YES) and Vaka. We were given a task that involved trying to find a better solution to help the houses next to volcanoes in the Pacific and a cheaper way to keep them intact. The project information we were given was that a vast number of houses collapsed due to the weight of the ash. There was also a significant amount of damage to crops and injuries to people trying to protect and save their houses.
There were about 26 different students from Pasifika Islands within New Zealand that were at the program, we were all split into four groups. Not only did we focus on the main programme, we were also taught more about our ancestors and the way they lived and the innovations that they made to be where they are today.
I got to meet many different amazing people and learnt about their cultural backgrounds. This programme also helped us with public speaking, leadership skills, which were needed for when we presented our innovation. Everything about the STEAM challenge was absolutely amazing and if I was given the chance to do it again, I would take it and hope other Pasifika students from Roncalli do too.