Luna-Rossa Lomitusi-Ape’s (pictured) upbringing spans across the Pacific, and family in both Samoa and New Zealand are overjoyed with her success at the 2021 Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Awards (PMPYA).
The 21-year-old Engineering student collected International Scholar prize and a grant to assist with future projects and wellbeing, at the PMPYA online ceremony hosted by the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP).
This award, sponsored by Pacific Cooperation Foundation (PCF) recognises a young person who epitomises the strong positive relationship between New Zealand and the Pacific Islands through their leadership, community service (both New Zealand and home nation) and academic performance.
“My family in both New Zealand and Samoa were filled with joy in finding out I received this award,” Luna-Rossa says.
“It has helped me realise the things I am capable of if I set my mind to it, as well as reinforcing and affirming my beliefs and hopes for Pacific communities.”
Born in New Zealand and of Samoan descent, Luna-Rossa spent her childhood in Aotearoa and Samoa, settling in Samoa to complete Years 6-13 of her education.
Luna-Rossa attended Samoa College and did a foundation course at the National University of Samoa (NUS), before earning a scholarship to study Engineering at Auckland University of Technology (AUT), where she is majoring in Electrical Engineering.
“I am hoping to specialise more in renewable energy where I can really make an impact in the Pacific.
“Electricity is a necessity for most people and finding ways to create and use green energy in Pacific nations including New Zealand will benefit local communities in an ecological and economic sense.”
Luna-Rossa anticipates the acknowledgment which comes with her PMPYA achievement will help open doors to opportunities, enabling her to assist more Pacific peoples.
She wants to encourage more women across the Pacific to take up STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) studies and occupations, and to believe in their endeavours.
“If given the opportunities and the right support within the Pacific, we will see more youth taking up STEM courses, and an increase in knowledge holders with experience, who can make a valuable contribution to these fields, and positively impact their community.”
Looking ahead, Luna-Rossa says she will continue working towards promoting studies in STEM fields throughout the region, to ensure Pacific representation in these fields.
“These are the fields which can help shape our nations.
“I hope to encourage more sustainable lifestyles in our Pacific communities, to work together as a team and protect our treasured ecosystems, and so future generations can also appreciate these treasures and thrive.”
Visit the MPP website for more information on the Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Awards.