Tertiary student Nelson Ah Hoi has his eyes firmly set on becoming a world-class Pacific software developer.
When he reaches his goal, the 20-year-old says he hopes to be a beacon for others to join the technology sector, which Nelson says is "massively under-represented by Pacific people”.
Nelson, a WelTec student of Samoan, Tokelauan, Palagi and Chinese heritage, is a Toloa STEAM recipient who said he was thankful the scholarship helped to alleviate the financial burden of course-related fees.
The Toloa programme is one of MPP’s flagship initiative supporting Pacific peoples in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) pathways, over a whole of life approach.
Toloa Tertiary Scholarships aim to inspire and support Pacific students in their engagement with STEAM. Scholarships include tertiary tuition fees and compulsory course-related fees up to $10,000 for one year of fulltime study in STEAM-related courses.
Nelson was raised in Wellington’s Island Bay and is studying towards a Bachelor of Information Technology, majoring in software development.
The second-year student says he has many goals, but the most important one to him centres on his aiga (family) and community.
“My future aspirations are to become a world-class software developer, working for a reputable IT company and to make my family, aiga and wider Pacific community proud,” he says.
“Our Pacific people (along with Māori) are massively under-represented in the technology sector – both representing only two percent of the tech industry in New Zealand.
“We need to prove these statistics wrong and increase our people’s representation in STEAM not only in New Zealand, but globally.
“I hope to demonstrate and be a living example to younger and aspiring Pacific and Māori youth that we also belong in the IT/STEAM industry.
“The Toloa scholarship helped me and my family by paying for this year's WelTec programme fees, which saved financial hardship on me and my parents.
“The alternative was that we borrowed this money, resulting in being in financial debt.”
Nelson says that his study this year has allowed him to gain better understanding and insights into the IT industry.
This included learning new programming software that suited certain industries and project management techniques to better plan and communicate.
Visit the Toloa webpage for more information on Toloa.