Tour to Tāmaki Makaurau for Pacific students empowers Pacific youth to enter university studies with confidence

In April, nineteen Pacific students from Amanaki STEM Academy in Palmerston North travelled up to Tāmaki Makaurau to learn about research, STEM careers and studying at university. The tour was organised by the Pūtahi Manawa OnE team and our Pacific Leadership Team Chair, Soteria Ieremia, with funding support from the CoRE. Soteria also organised the students' visit to Rocket Lab.

A charity set up to support Pacific students in STEM subjects, Amanaki provides wrap-around mentoring, tutoring and exam preparation, and opens career doors for the next generation.  It is creating a pipeline of confident and competent Pacific innovators, engineers, scientists, and health professionals grounded in their cultural values. 

The students spent time with a national network of researchers and educators, learning about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). As well as attending workshops and a programme of activities that included visiting Rocket Lab, the group also toured the University seeing the iconic Fale Pasifika, the Auckland Bioengineering Institute and the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences in Grafton. The ASA Auckland STEM tour and hands-on sessions were a collaboration between Amanaki STEM Academy and Putahi Manawa, Pacific-I, Auckland University and Auckland University of Technology. 

Amanaki founder Viliami Teumohenga said the Auckland tour had been a positive experience for the Palmerston North students, learning about research and project design skills that were also applicable in their everyday lives; allowing them to problem solve and create solutions for their families and community.

Anuj Bhargava, Professional Teaching Fellow and Outreach and Education Lead for Pūtahi Manawa says the many pathways to university for young Pacific youth was a very positive development, and the two-day tour empowered Pacific youth to enter university studies with confidence.

An unexpected bonus was the opportunity for the students to meet Dave Letele – “The Brown Buttabean” who started Buttabean Motivation.