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Source: University of Otago

The completing scholars accepting their certificates and giving their speeches.
There was a buzz of gratitude, admiration and pride at the Manaaki NZ Scholarships Completion Ceremony 2023.
Run by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), the Manaaki New Zealand Scholarship provides international students the opportunity to receive education from New Zealand universities, which they will carry forward to support the sustainable future development of their home countries.
International recipients came together to celebrate the successful completion of their degrees on May 11th.
Many Manaaki scholars faced a range of challenges in their academic study, with most arriving in early 2020 prior to the emergence of COVID-19 and they were thus present in New Zealand throughout the lockdowns, closures and mandates.
University of Otago International Director Jason Cushen says that the students not only mastered an academic discipline, but the challenges that encompass entering a new culture, on top of a global pandemic.
This was especially notable as many of the scholars were thousands of miles away from the comfort of family and home.
Thankfully the supportive environment forged by the academic relationships created at the University of Otago, allowed for a unique Manaaki bond to emerge.
“Welcome to the Whanau” announced Tim Lawther, Senior Policy Advisor at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
“This is not just a celebration of your achievement but your resilience and resolve… what happens next matters, each and every one of you have the opportunity to create positive change in your country.”
The University of Otago proudly enrols an array of Manaaki scholars yearly, providing international students the opportunity to cultivate their academic knowledge and growth, to experience world-class education, and to contribute to the success of their respective home countries.
The Manaaki Scholarship creates future leaders, to build a successful, stable and more equitable future.
Arsenio Soares da Costa Ferreira on the right who graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Food Science).
Receiving the Manaaki scholarship has been a life-changing experience for Kenyan student Shirley Achieng, earning her Doctorate of Philosophy in Peace and Conflict studies.
“The scholarship is dynamic, it’s all encompassing. The scholarship gives you a life-long opportunity from the resources it exposes you to, in other universities and here for me, at Otago. It is a wealth of opportunities, it has the aspect of knowledge production and knowledge gaining, but it also provides you a lot of peace. It is something that has changed my life forever.”
This sentiment was echoed throughout the celebration, “this scholarship has allowed me to achieve my hopes and dreams,” said Tongan student Lesieli Tomiki, achieving her Doctorate of Clinical Dentistry in Paediatric Dentistry.
Sandhiya Gounder of Fiji, earning her Doctorate of Philosophy in Sociology further expressed her gratitude, “it is the most rewarding experience of my life.”
The Manaaki New Zealand Scholarship enables international students to complete undergraduate or postgraduate tertiary study at New Zealand tertiary education providers.
Sandhiya Sivanjali Gounder on the left, who graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology.
The key purpose of the scholarship is to enhance and build upon the training, skills and knowledge of recipients, building capability to contribute to sustainable development in their home countries.
Desirable recipients are more likely to pursue subjects as recommended by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which include but are not limited to, Climate Change and Resilience, Disaster Risk Management, Governance, Education, and Health.
Do you know prospective students who are passionate about making a difference? They can contribute to the development of their home country with a Manaaki New Zealand Scholarship, receive life changing world-class education, and become leaders of tomorrow.
Completing Scholars (May 2023):• Jireh Maluina Tamapua: Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) — SAMOA• John Philip Hein Htet: Master of Peace and Conflict Studies with Distinction — MYANMAR• Arsenio Soares da Costa Ferreira: Bachelor of Science (Food Science) — TIMOR LESTE• Lesieli Isabella Kathreen Tomiki: Doctor of Clinical Dentistry in Paediatric Dentistry — TONGA• Niger Fugalaau Roebeck: Bachelor of Commerce (International Business) — SAMOA• Glenis Kirstie Ah-Far: Bachelor of Science (Physiology) — SAMOA• Tekaai Tekiera: Bachelor of Commerce (International Business) — KIRIBATI• Tevita Tonga Sifa: Bachelor of Commerce (Marketing) — TONGA• Sandhiya Sivanjali Gounder: Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology — FIJI• Shirley Gabriella Achieng’: Doctor of Philosophy in Peace and Conflict Studies – KENYA
Kōrero by Amy Blair, International Marketing coordinator.