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Scholarships brighten academic future

Six Pasifika students will reap the rewards of hard work with an inaugural Wairarapa scholarship.

Pasifika o Wairarapa Trust presented the scholarship dedicated to future educational or vocational pathways to students of Pasifika descent this year.

The recipients, hailing from six Wairarapa schools, were chosen based on a commitment to community service, a school reference, and an interview with the Trust’s scholarship subcommittee.

The winners included Ashriya Prasad from Chanel College, Nathan Raj from Kuranui, Feresia Manesa-Anae from Makoura, Charlie Sherry from Rathkeale, Angela Dulnuan from Solway, and Maia Cullen from Wairarapa College.

Chanel College principal Myra Coley, who was on the selection committee, said all applicants were “affirming and high calibre”.

“These students show hope for the future of our community, and they all planned to return to Wairarapa, which resonated with the judges” Coley said.

Nathan Raj, a Fijian Indian student from Kuranui College, spent this year working toward his private pilot licence with Wairarapa Aero Club.

He said he would continue studying toward his commercial license next year.

“It’s pretty amazing knowing you can be in command of such a large vehicle, and there are so many exciting challenges in the profession,” he said.

Raj said he had already raised $12,000 for his pilot training while working at Adamsons Service Station in Featherston.

His voluntary work at Hood Aerodrome and in his church community was also recognised by the judges.

Maia Cullen, the art and culture prefect at Wairarapa College, said she planned to take a gap year in 2023 to visit family in England and on the remote island of Tokelau – a 24-hour journey from Samoa.

After that, she said it would be business and accounting studies and intended to move to Wellington for tertiary education.

Solway College’s Angela Dulnuan was acknowledged for her work as the social media manager at the Jesus is Lord Filipino Church in
Masterton for the past two years.

Dulnuan said she would be moving to Wellington with her family next year to study nursing at Massey University.

She said she was motivated by her personal experience.

“My mum had cancer three years ago, and my cousin in the Philippines passed away from cancer three years ago.

“Studying nursing seemed like a way for me to care for others and learn how I can help,” Dulnuan said.

Ashriya Prasad from Chanel College, a dedicated member of the kapa haka and poly groups, said she credited her parents and teachers for encouraging her to pursue her goals, and was planning to move to Wellington next year.

“I’ve always dreamed of going to university, and I’m so honoured to have received this scholarship opportunity.”

The Pasifika o Wairarapa Trust said it was established as part of the covid response to address the social disparities and lack of support available for Pasifika families in Wairarapa.

Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age who regularly writes about education. He is originally from Wellington and is interested in environmental issues and public transport.

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