PMPYA recipient says dream big
(Picture caption: Josiah, centre, with the NZ World Health Organisation team in Geneva.)
Perseverance is key to many things in life, and it is something Josiah Tualamali'i, 22, has learnt and puts into practice often.
The University of Canterbury Politics and History student, and Chair of Pacific Youth Leadership and Transformation (PYLAT) leads with enthusiasm and passion, and these qualities were recognised at the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP) 2016 Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Awards (PMPYA), when he collected the Air New Zealand Leadership and Inspiration Award (supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT).
Josiah was awarded a trip of a lifetime to the United Nations in Geneva, where he attended the 2016 World Health Organisation Conference.
“My trip to Geneva was probably the best insight I will ever get to how our country and our national airline leads diplomacy for the world,” Josiah says.
Possibly the most beneficial thing from his experience has been the new friendships he has made from all around the world, he adds.
“It has opened up my eyes to what is possible - having been to the UN, I’m eager to get back there if I can - but I’m not thinking it is not possible anymore.
“Winning the award has lifted my expectations and thoughts on what is possible.”
The award is a result of Josiah’s perseverance and commitment, and it did not come easy.
“I ended up applying for the awards four years in a row, only because friends and family encouraged me,” he explains.
“But the couple of hours it took ended up being so worth it – if you are a youth leader in your Pacific community, it is worthwhile applying for.”
There are eight 2018 PMPYA categories high-achieving Pacific youth can apply for including the Air NZ - Leadership and Inspiration Award (supported by MFAT); NZ Institute of Sport - Sports and Fitness Award; Ako Aotearoa - STEM Award; Auckland Council - Community Star Award; Creative NZ and Massey University - Arts and Creativity Award; Deloitte - Business and Entrepreneurship Award; Pacific Cooperation Foundation – International Scholar Award; and the BNZ - Commercial and Corporate Award (supported by MPP).
Award winners will also be offered a tailored leadership development programme designed to support and encourage them to develop their leadership skills from Leadership NZ.
Josiah says it can feel weird for Pacific people to apply for an individual award, as being Pacific means being part of a community.
“However, people should apply because this is one of the key ways your Pacific community can be acknowledged, and by the highest office in Aotearoa our Prime Minister.”
These awards also provide more opportunities to upskill, so people can better serve their community with greater knowledge and understanding, he adds.
When applying for the PMPYA, Josiah offers some tips:
- If you do not feeling confident don't do it alone. The application form asks you to find two referees willing to support your application, ask them what they think;
- Applying does not mean you are bragging, or you have a big head because you are sharing your leadership journey, or what you've been part of. Winning an award also acknowledges everyone who has and is part of the journey;
- If you apply and don't get it, don't throw away your application. Start to collect all your applications in one place so you can reuse what is relevant;
- There is only one winner for each award, so while you may not win this opportunity, there will be others so do not give up hope.
Applications for the 2018 PMPYA close on February 6, 2018 ahead of the award ceremony in March (date TBC).