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Source: Massey University

Associate Dean Pacific Dr Tracie Mafile’o (left) with the winning students.

Lunch for the winning students was provided at Wharerata.

An essay competition held as part of the Pasifika Fusion event in the Manawatū last week has produced a high standard of entries, with winners invited to attend a lunch hosted by Massey University’s College of Health on 12 July.

The competition called for 1500-word essays discussing the challenges and successes of Pacific peoples’ wellbeing in the context of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Secondary school students were invited to take part, with a total of 21 entries received from seven different schools in the region.

Entries were judged by Pasifika academic Peri Chapelle and retired Massey University Pasifika education specialist Dr Lesieli MacIntrye. The judges thought the winning essays were of a high standard and demonstrated the students’ willingness to interrogate the topic while integrating their own personal stories and experiences into their writing. Both judges also commented that the winning essays were of university standard.

Palmerston North Girls’ High School students Grace Fakahau and Roseta Leau won the senior and junior categories respectively. Other schools with students in the top three were Freyberg High School and Queen Elizabeth College.

Dr Tracie Mafile’o, Associate Dean Pacific, says she was hopeful that celebrating the success of these students would encourage them in their journey of lifelong learning, including future University study.

Pasifika Fusion is the biggest annual Pasifika event in the Manawatū, catering to Pasifika secondary school students from Palmerston North and surrounding areas. The event has been running for 16 years and the Massey Pacific recruitment team who were also present at the festival are excited to be more involved in 2022 to better engage with the vibrant and growing Pacific community in the Manawatū region.

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