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New wave of Pacific STEAM students emerging

New wave of Pacific STEAM students emerging

  • 07 Nov 2022
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(Picture caption: The first cohort of Toloa Secondary School Scholarship recipients celebrate their graduation from the Niu Wave wellbeing programme. PHOTO CREDIT: Le Va.)  

A new wave of young Pacific people have become the first cohort to complete a Toloa Secondary School Scholarship – offered at this level by the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP), for the first time this year.

On November 1, 161 Auckland-based scholars were acknowledged at the Niu Wave wellbeing programme graduation, staged at Fale O Samoa in Mangere.

Minister for Pacific Peoples Hon Aupito William Sio attended the first of five graduation events and addressed the scholars, their families and the team from Le Va, who facilitated the innovative wraparound pastoral Niu Wave programme, integral in the Toloa Secondary Scholarship initiative.

Toloa, which encourages Pacific peoples to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM) studies and careers, is a flagship programme for this Ministry.

Minister Sio says he recognises the future is in STEAM-focused areas, and Pacific voices need to be heard loudly, and Pacific perspectives to be seen clearly.

“The flow-on effect of our Pacific young people succeeding in STEAM areas will be substantial, and whole communities will be enabled and empowered to thrive,” Minister Sio says.  

In another first this year, the Ministry partnered with not-for-profit Pasifika-led mental health and wellbeing organisation Le Va to deliver its national youth wellbeing programme Niu Wave for those Pacific students receiving a Toloa Secondary School Scholarship. 

Le Va partners with communities and organisations to mobilise cultural, clinical and community solutions for transformational change.

Its diverse portfolio of work includes mental health, addiction, disability, suicide prevention, violence prevention and public health.

A student Advisory Board has also been established to support our Pacific youth on their journey.

The Ministry, Le Va and students have found this holistic approach effective in ensuring our young people felt supported, advised appropriately, and surrounded by the right people to help them achieve their STEAM dream.

In feedback MPP received, students say being a Pacific secondary school student involves a lot more problems and stress than people might think, what with juggling schoolwork, chores, being an older sibling, sports, church and good grades and the expectations placed on them.  

They say the Le Va holistic support is important to prevent responsibilities from becoming overwhelming and to provide the tools to deal with this sort of pressure.  

Minister Sio says it is clear, wellbeing is essential for our people to achieve their goals and to flourish.

“It takes a collaborative effort, along with the right tools and support systems in place for Pacific peoples to thrive and flourish here in Aotearoa.

“The Toloa initiative takes this into account, and the team has worked hard with Le Va to get the holistic approach right and provide the relevant support and tools for the 2022 Niu Wave graduates.”  

Four more graduation events are planned for scholars based in and around Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington and Palmerston North this week.

Congratulations and malo lava to all the Toloa Secondary School Scholars.

Visit the MPP website for more information about the Toloa initiative.