2018 Prime Minister's Pacific Youth Awards Winners

Asena Tolungamaka

Air New Zealand Leadership Inspiration Award
Supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Winner - Asena Tolungamaka

During her 2017 summer internship at Auckland Council, Tongan Asena from Favona was offered the opportunity to select who she would like to shadow, and she chose our Mayor Phil Goff and Councillor Faanana Efeso Collins – who both accepted! The insight gained while attending committee meetings was profound.

Asena helped to set up Navigators of Success and Navigators Pasifika and Maori Success Stories, was a speaker at the Pathways, Circuits and Crossroad Conference hosted by the Human Rights Commission, mentors’ students in the Chancellors Award for Top Pacific and Maori Scholars, is the Pacific ambassador at the University of Auckland while studying law. She is on a mission to become the first Pacific female Prime Minister.

Asena is looking to use her Air New Zealand internship to gain a better understanding of diplomatic events, and exceptional leaders and how to use those learnings for the success of our Pacific community.




Lupesina Koro

Ako Aotearoa STEM Award
Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths

Winner - Lupesina Koro

A former head girl at St Marys College, Lupesina is Samoan, Tokelau and in her 2nd year studying a conjoint degree in engineering and commerce.

Lupesina is the SPIES (South Pacific Indigenous Engineering Students) rep on the AUPISA (Auckland University Pacific Island Students Association) and continues her involvement with St Vincent de Paul mentoring high school leaders monthly.

Her long-term goal is to pursue research and higher education in engineering, and this Ako Aotearoa award will be used to help Lupesina achieve that.



Teri Tuuau

Auckland Council Community Star Award

Winner - Teri Tuuau

Since migrating from Samoa 14 years ago, Teri from Manurewa has been a member of the Manurewa Youth Council, Youth Member of Parliament in 2013, took part in the United Nations Youth Declaration in 2014, facilitated the Affirming Works, Young and Free Pasifika conference for two years and is a member of the Counties Manukau Health and Ko Awatea ‘Handle the Jandle’ campaign.

Teri is in her 4th year at Law School, and active member of Auckland University’s Pacific Island Law Students Association, and Movement and MALOSI. To balance her community involvement and study, she is a dancer for Mbrace Pacific Dance.

Her goal for her Auckland Council internship is to gain insight into how community issues are addressed effectively for our Pacific people.



Hazel Umaga

BNZ Commercial and Corporate Award
Supported by Ministry for Pacific Peoples

Winner - Hazel Umaga

Of Samoan heritage, Hazel is in her final year at AUT studying a Business Degree where she made the Honours Roll and was awarded an accounting scholarship.

At 24 years old, Hazel has completed a 2-year church mission and is currently Primary President for her LDS church in Otara managing a team of 17 primary auxiliary teachers.

Hazel is looking for a career in finance and business and keen to see how her BNZ support and internship at the Ministry for Pacific Peoples can open doors into this field.



John Belford Lelaulu

Creative New Zealand and Massey University Arts and Creativity Award

Winner - John Belford-Lelaulu

John from Sandringham, is one of 10 children born to Samoan migrant parents who arrived in the ‘50’s. He was the Top student of the Year 5 Master of Architecture programme in 2015, was the Project Lead on the Mobile Education Facilities for New York’s homeless community and has set up his own Social Design business – MAU Studio. His business seeks to use design to enhance family well-being, and, address poverty, racial and gender inequality, and environmental challenges.

John will use this Creative New Zealand and Massey University award to assist with the rollout of his 2nd business the MAU Support System that works with secondary and tertiary students to create responses to humanitarian challenges affecting Pasifika communities.



Taylor McDonald

Deloitte Business and Entrepreneurship Award

Winner - Taylor McDonald

A Samoan, Taylor from Panmure has received Academic Honours in 2016 and 2017 at AUT. She is an A-average student completing a double degree in Business and Design majoring in Marketing and User Interface / User Experience.

Taylor would like to work as a consultant, helping businesses adapt to trends and influences within the market. I plan on achieving this through my work at ASB, consulting for start-ups in User Experience, as well as the internship at Deloitte.

During her Deloitte internship Taylor wants to increase her knowledge of User Experience and Human Centred design as she is passionate about digital and technological trends impacting customer expectations and experience.



Elena Euese

New Zealand Institute of Sports, Sports and Fitness Award

Winner - Elena Euese

Avondale raised Elena is Samoan with a passion for sport. She was part of the Avondale College Sport Academy last year where she coached basketball and played Tag for Auckland at the Nationals.

Holding down a part time job while at school, she studied during her work breaks to help her family. Her mother Lonise Poese and grandmother Mua Poese are from Iva, Savaii and these two special women are her motivation that inspire Elena to do well in everything she does.

Her life motto is ‘appreciate everything, never expect anything. Elena is planning to use this award to help her to prepare for Police College. She hopes to graduate from Police College and make her family and community proud.



Monique Lawrence

New Zealand Institute of Sports, Sports and Fitness Award

Winner - Monique Lawrence

From Otahuhu, Monique is Samoan and moved from Christchurch to Auckland last year to study towards her sport and fitness diploma with New Zealand Institute of Sport. Her family are her main motivation and continually push her to do well. Her father is Maota Aumua-Lesatele, who is the son of Solofa Aumua and Tusiata Lesatele from Sataua, Savaii in Samoa.

When she finishes her diploma, she will go to AUT to get her teaching degree, and fulfil her career goal which is to become a Secondary School PE and English teacher working in schools with a high Pacific population.



Charlie Sofe

Pacific Cooperation Foundation International Scholar Award

Winner - Charlie Sofe

Charlie is Samoan and studying Engineering at Canterbury University. He has won the Top Scholar Award at Canterbury University for the past two years.

Charlie loves tutoring Pacific engineering students during semester and tutoring Pacific secondary school students during their holiday programmes. His success is watching them ‘get it’. This is his fourth year studying away from his family in Samoa.

At only 21, his long-term aspiration, once he completes his post graduate qualification in Civil Engineering is to use these funds to help set up an Engineering firm in Samoa. Charlie wants to do this with his brother who holds a Masters in Civil Engineering and he hopes to expand their firm into NZ to provide employment opportunities for Pacific people.